A church, church building or church house is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The earliest identified Christian church is a house church founded between 233 and 256. From the 11th through the 14th centuries, there was a wave of church construction in Western Europe.
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Sometimes, the word church is used by analogy for the buildings of other religions. Church is also used to describe the Christian religious community as a whole, or a body or an assembly of Christian believers around the world.
In traditional Christian architecture, the plan view of a church often forms a Christian cross; the center aisle and seating representing the vertical beam with the bema and altar forming the horizontal. Towers or domes may inspire contemplation of the heavens. Modern churches have a variety of architectural styles and layouts. Some buildings designed for other purposes have been converted to churches, while many original church buildings have been put to other uses.
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