The Washington National Cathedral has achieved the status of “megachurch” by streaming their religious services online through the pandemic lockdowns over the last two years. Their online services draw 30,000 attendees every week, 10 times the number that would fit in the cathedral and, albeit virtual, triple the number of visits the church had pre-pandemic.
Protestant and evangelical churches that have surpassed 2,000 weekly visitors are deemed megachurches and there are 1,300 in the US. With the Washington National Cathedral now having over 30,000 attendees, that puts the church among the top 10 in the United States.
The Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal Church, is also known as Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Led by the Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, it is part of the Diocese of Washington and the seat of Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde as well as the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
The history of the church dates to President George Washington, who commissioned Major Pierre “Peter” Charles L’Enfant to envision a plan for the capital, in which L’Enfant imagined “a great church for national purposes.” The church held its first service in 1912, serving its congregation and as a house of worship for people of various faiths ever since. The cathedral itself is second largest in the United States, behind the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and stands on 57 acres of land in the nation’s capital.