It is so tempting to take photographs of all the churches, cathedrals and basilicas from every angle, inside, outside, day and night. They are so very, very impressive, even for non Catholics, or even for completely non religious persons. One cannot ignore the beauty, effort, time and energy that has gone into religion -- all religions -- but perhaps Catholics especially. Their places of worship are awe inspiring in their architecture and splendor. I recently read a book where the main character had spent a great deal of time studying religions and finally concluded she'd settle on being either a Catholic or an atheist. As strange as it sounds, I get it.
After visiting Quito Basilica, Ed and I were left wondering about the differences between cathedrals, basilicas and churches, so asked a good friend, schooled from k through college in Catholic schools, to help us out. His definitions were helpful:
Cathedral - church where the bishop's throne (called cathedra) is located, usually the main church of the diocese. May or may not be a basilica.
Basilica - an "important church" designated by a pope for some special spiritual, historical, or architectural significance. Once a basilica, always a basilica.
Shrines - anything that attracts pilgrims and holds special significance. May or may not be a church, cathedral, or basilica.
These photos are just a few of the many we took. I hope they capture some of the splendor we felt both inside and outside this magnificent building. If ever you get to Quito, Ecuador, don't miss the Quito Basilica.