Temple, Church or Cathedral



Pictured above is St. Sava Church on Vracar, or the Temple of Saint Sava on Vracar. What’s the difference in Serbian between “crkva”, “hram” and “katedrala”. Below is a very loose translation from here:

A church (lowercase) is a temple, a building we go to. Church (uppercase) is an institution with clergy, churches, faithful and in mystic unity with Christ.

A temple is a building used for religious rites.

Cathedral in translation means Saborna Crkva or Saborni Hram, but when used in Serbian it is referring to a Catholic Saborni Hram.

Here are the differences: Cathedral is from the Latin ecclesia, cathedralis (saborni hram) and it is traditionally used in French, German, Englsih, Spanish and so forth. In Serbian, when we say “katedralna” (cathedral) we mean a Catholic church, just as in Serbian “biskup” refers to a Catholic bishop. However, in English the Serbian word “Saborna Crkva” is translated as “Cathedral” since they have no other word.

While the word church (crkva) is tied only to Christianity regardless of denomination, the word “temple” (hram) can refer to any religious building (Hindu, old Greek temples, etc.) For Islamic and Jewish temples we’ve grown accustomed to referring to them as mosques and synagogues.