Religious Places

12 May 2023

Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we will answer a question about different kinds of religious centers.


Dear teacher,

Ask a Teacher: Religious Places
Ask a Teacher: Religious Places

I am Saeed from Iran. I am so glad to send you an email. I have a question about differences between a "cathedral" and a "church?"

Are they the same?

Thank you,



This is a great question, Saeed!

Let's expand this question further to include different religious centers.

A "church" is a building used by Christians for their religious services. Because there are many different denominations of Christians, there are many different kinds of churches.

A "cathedral" is one kind of Christian church. However, a "cathedral" is the main church for an area under the direction of a bishop, a high-level church leader, in the Roman Catholic faith.

Other Christian groups might also call large churches cathedrals. For example, sometimes the term is used in the Eastern Orthodox Church, another form of Christianity based in places like Eastern Europe, Greece, and the Middle East.

There are many famous cathedrals around the world like Notre Dame in Paris, St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, and the Cathedral of Brasilia in Brazil's capital.

Now let's talk about a few different worship and prayer centers for other big religions.

A "temple" is another form of religious building. "Temple" is the English language word for religious centers in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Temples are places of prayer or worship.

Sometimes, people who observe Reform Judaism call their religious centers "temples."

A "mosque" is a place for Muslims to pray. Women and men usually have separate places to pray within the same building. Muslim holidays and marriages are observed in mosques.

"Synagogues" are Jewish places of worship. They are for prayer and religious services, ceremonies and study.

These are not the only places of worship as there are many different religions in the world. If you know of a religious center or place of prayer or worship, we have not named, please write to us in the comments below!

Please let us know if these explanations and examples helped you, Saeed!

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And that's Ask a Teacher.

I'm Faith Pirlo.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

denomination n. a separate religious group

faith n. strong religious belief or strong belief in someone or something

worship v. to show respect and love for God or for a god especially by praying, having religious services, etc.

prayern. words spoken to a god or higher being especially in order to give thanks or to ask for something