Houses of Worship, Terminology for

A house (or place) of worship is a location where a group of individuals (a congregation) gathers to perform acts of devotion and religious study. There are numerous terms to describe houses of worship across religions. In their origins, houses of worship provided a place of meeting and worship. However, given patterns of migration in diverse societies such as that of the United States, their roles have been redefined. This entry describes places of worship for major religions of the world followed by a description of their changing roles in the United States.


Christians generally use the term church, which mainly pertains to Anglican, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, and some Protestant denominations. Some churches are given honorable privileges and therefore designated as basilicas. A cathedral differentiates itself ...

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