Besides serving as a place of worship, the cathedral or parish church was frequently employed as a general gathering-place by the communities in which they were located, hosting such events as guild meetings, banquets, mystery plays, and fairs.
Church grounds and buildings were also used for the threshing and storage of grain.
Towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring a range of thoughts and emotions in visitors and worshippers.
Modern church buildings have a variety of architectural styles and layouts; many buildings that were designed for other purposes have now been converted for church use, and, conversely, many original church buildings have been put to other uses.
In Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain, it became popular to build hall churches, a style in which every vault would be built to the same height.
Gothic cathedrals were lavishly designed, as in the romanesque era, and many share romanesque traits.In traditional Christian architecture, a church interior is often structured in the shape of a Christian cross.When viewed from plan view the vertical beam of the cross is represented by the center aisle and seating while the horizontal beam and junction of the cross is formed by the bema and altar.The earliest archeologically identified Christian church is a house church (domus ecclesiae), the Dura-Europos church, founded between 233 and 256.In the second half of the 3rd century AD, the first purpose-built halls for Christian worship (aula ecclesiae) began to be constructed.A cathedral is a church building, usually Roman Catholic, Protestant (including Anglican), Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, housing a cathedra, the formal name for the seat or throne of a presiding bishop.) means "belonging, or pertaining, to a Kyrios" ("Lord"), and the usage was adopted by early Christians of the Eastern Mediterranean with regard to anything pertaining to the Lord Jesus Christ: hence "Kyriakós oíkos" (, ekklesía, literally "assembly", "congregation", or the place where such a gathering occurs) was retained to signify both a specific edifice of Christian worship (a "church"), and the overall community of the faithful (the "Church").Nave ceilings became higher and pillars and steeples grew taller.Many architects used these developments to push the limits of structural possibility, an inclination which resulted in the collapse of several towers possessing designs that had unwittingly exceeded the boundaries of soundness.German Kirche, Scots kirk, Russian According to the New Testament, the earliest Christians did not build church buildings.Instead, they gathered in homes (Acts 17:5, , 1 Corinthians ) or in Jewish worship places like the Second Temple or synagogues (Acts , 19:8).