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What's the Difference between Churches, Chapels, and Cathedrals?

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For every world religion, there is a place to worship. For Christianity, there are a confusing variety of names for these places, which are frequently—but incorrectly—used interchangeably. Church, chapel, and cathedral are the trio of terms most commonly used to denote a religious space, but how are they different? As with most questions on the nature of language, it depends not whom you ask, but when you ask.

Chronologically speaking, the words “church” and “chapel” emerged into widespread use at about the same time, dating back to approximately the thirteenth century. Church evolved from a motley collection of sources: the Old English cirice, West Germanic kirika, Middle Dutch kerke, and from the Greek kyriake. Chapel has a more straightforward derivation, from the Old French chapele, which in turn had roots in the Medieval Latin cappella, literally meaning “little cape,” honoring the story of St. Martin of Tours’ holy garment. Of the two, “church” is the broader term, referring both to the worship space in an architectural sense as well as the congregation as a collective group of people meeting within the church building. Though the word’s original connotations were of a building designated for holy worship, church services now often take place in secular locations, and former church buildings are frequently converted into private homes, bookstores, and bars.

Chapels are commonly smaller spaces, usually a room within the church or a larger, non-faith-based institution like an airport, hospital, or university, and they are not necessarily consecrated ground. Even chapels of considerable size or with their own freestanding grounds differ from the traditional Christian church in welcoming nondenominational or interfaith worship. Perhaps the loosest definition of “chapel” refers to those peculiar Las Vegas wedding locations for hasty, and occasionally poorly thought out, marriages—a far cry from most established religion.

Unlike both churches and chapels, which originated in the general Christian tradition but are not specific to any particular incarnation of it, cathedrals fulfill a specific role within the Catholic faith. Named for the bishop’s throne, the cathedra—and despite its implications of stained glass and grandeur—a “cathedral” is simply the designated principal church within a diocese. Naturally, where the bishop goes, lofty arches and flying buttresses often follow, but those are just a side effect. If the bishop’s seat moves elsewhere, so too does the designation of “cathedral.” Such was the case with Crotia’s Church of the Holy Cross, once billed as “the smallest cathedral in the world”—in the absence of a bishop, the Croatian Tourist Board is pushing the definition just a bit.

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

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