Although the term "cathedral" is often used for any large or important church, a cathedral is technically a Christian church building that serves as the central church of a bishop's diocese.

The word cathedral comes from Latin cathedra, meaning "seat" or "throne," and refers to the presence of the bishop's throne in that church. However, several former cathedrals now used as Protestant churches are still called cathedrals out of tradition.

The term cathedral is not officially used in Eastern Orthodoxy. Instead, the church of an Orthodox bishop is usually known as "the great church."

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