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A building belonging to an established religious organization and used for collective Christian worship, the performance of ceremonies, pilgrimage, and the veneration of relics. Early churches were hidden in catacombs or in caves, but from the 4th century onwards they were specially built structures often modelled on the basilican halls of late Roman public buildings. The plan and layout of all churches is partly related to liturgical needs and ceremonial functions, and partly to symbolic and spiritual factors. Thus the majority are rectangular or cross‐shaped in plan, orientated broadly east to west, with the main focus at the east end.

Subjects: History.

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