Motherchurch

From Academic Kids

A motherchurch or mother church in Christianity is used in three forms. In the first, it is used as a title of distinction for churches established originally as the first mission of a particular region. For example, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawai'i was the site of the first French Catholic mission of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, from which the modern Hawai'i Catholic Church was established. Under these circumstances it is today considered the motherchurch of all Hawai'i.

In the second form, motherchurch is a title of distinction based on the church's hierarchical importance. For example, among Roman Catholics the ecumenical mother church is the Lateran Basilica. Similarly, the church of the bishop of an episcopal see is often considered the motherchurch of a diocese. Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois falls under this category. While it was not the first Roman Catholic cathedral of the city, it became the mother church due to the presence of the episcopal cathedra. This form of distinction based on hierarchical importance is usually used by the Roman Catholic Church, and, sometimes, the churches of the Anglican Communion, while most Protestant denominations tend to refrain from using the title in this manner. A notable exception is the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts, which is commonly called the "Mother Church".

A third form relates to the churches of the various religious orders, royal orders or civic orders. For example, Madonna Della Strada Chapel is the motherchurch of the Province of Chicago of the Society of Jesus. It is the principal church of the Jesuits in its particular province which includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. On a broader scale, the Chiesa del Gesu in Rome is the motherchurch of all Jesuits throughout the world as it is the church of the order's Superior General.

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