Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
home iconTravel
line break icon

This (and not St. Peter’s) is the biggest church in the world


Felix Krohn | CC BY-SA 2.0

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/16/18

It has an exterior area of around 30,000 square meters.

When the Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury was designing the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace), he certainly had St. Peter’s Basilica in mind: the designs of both the dome and the square — also encircled by a colonnade — although not replicas, are no doubt inspired by it.

Even if – maybe out of respect — Fakhoury designed the dome to be just a bit lower than that of the Roman basilica (meaning that St. Peter’s is still the highest dome in the world, with a total height of 136 meters), he added a larger cross on top of it, so the finished height of Our Lady of Peace is 158 meters in total.

The Guinness Book of World Records claims this basilica, which is located in Yamoussoukro, the administrative capital city of Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), is indeed the biggest church in the world. The whole complex, which includes not only the rectory but also a villa and the colonnade, covers an area of 30,000 square meters (that is, 320,000 square feet). However, it can only accommodate only 18,000 worshipers. Compared to St. Peter’s, which has room for around 60,000 faithful, it doesn’t seem to be that big. The reason is quite straightforward: less than half the population of Côte D’Ivoire is Christian, and the services conducted at the basilica are, in fact, attended regularly by only a few hundred.

The basilica was consecrated by Saint John Paul II on September 10, 1990. The Holy Father agreed to the consecration on the condition that a hospital be built nearby.

The hospital was completed in 2014.


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
Visalia CHURCH
J-P Mauro
The largest Catholic parish church in the US will soon be in Cali...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.