Difference between parish, hermitage and collegiate church

20 February, 2020

Almost all religions have a temple for religious worship but they differ in architecture and functionality. For example, in the Catholic religion alone there are about six different types of churches: basilica, cathedral, primatial, collegiate, deanery and parish.

The large and famous churches such as basilicas and cathedrals are usually more visited and known, but what are the differences between a parish, hermitage and collegiate church? what are the particularities of each of them?

What is a parish?

A parish or parish church is the seat of a community of faithful Catholics who live in the same territory and are under the spiritual direction of a priest called a parish priest.

Masses, funerals, communions and weddings are celebrated in parishes for the parishioners who belong to the parish.

What is a hermitage?

A hermitage is a small building located in the countryside or other unpopulated areas where the friar cultivates his own vocation.

Over time, chapels, churches and other small shrines located in unpopulated areas where no permanent worship is offered have also received the name of hermitage.

In terms of architecture, hermitages are like chapels that have an altar and may have a room for the person in charge of its maintenance. There are also hermitages that are like humilladeros or rectangular landmarks with walls on three sides and a grille on the other.

In the hermitages, masses are usually celebrated on the day of the saint’s feast and pilgrimages.

What is a collegiate church?

The collegiate church is a Catholic church that, like the cathedral, has a chapter or college of clergy but is not the residence of the bishop. The person in charge of the collegiate church is called dean, abbot or prior.

The collegiate churches are usually large temples that have a choir and other elements characteristic of churches that celebrate the Divine Office.

What is the difference between parish, hermitage and collegiate church?

Parishes are churches located in populated areas while hermitages are located in fields or unpopulated areas.

In parishes, masses are celebrated for the parishioners who live in the same area, but in the hermitage it is only the friar who exercises his spirituality.

Hermitages are small buildings with an altar and a room for the person in charge of lighting and cleaning. Collegiate churches, on the other hand, are large churches with a college of clerics and even a choir.

Did you know that…?

Hermitages are related to the hermitage. This is the place where the hermit or hermit withdraws to dedicate his life to prayer and sacrifice.

In addition to establishing a parish as a territorial division of the church, parishes can be created for a specific community of people such as university students or deaf people.

After the treaty signed between Spain and the Holy See in 1851, most of the collegiate churches in Spain were annulled, although their names have been maintained.

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