The Roman-Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary was the third Catholic church built in Moscow of those which had functioned before the revolution of 1917. By the end of the 19th century the number of Catholic believers in Moscow had grown to 30 thousand, and the two churches built earlier (the church of St. Louis and the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul) could not house all the parishioners. In 1894 a decision was made to build one more Catholic church. The funds for building the third church were gathered by the Poles living in the whole territory of the Russian Empire and abroad, and by Catholics of various nationalities. The design of the church was developed by Tomasz (Foma) Bogdanowicz-Dwor¿ecki, a parishioner of the church of St. Peter and Paul and a well-known Moscow architect, who taught at Moscow School of Arts, Sculpture and Architecture.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary was being built from 1901 to 1911. The opening ceremony was held in December 1911. The church in Malaya Gruzinskaya street functioned till 1937 and was the first to be closed among the Moscow Catholic churches. The church property was stolen or destroyed, including the altar and the organ. The façade was defaced. The organizations that occupied the desecrated church changed the inner space by building floor decks and altering the interior, which made the building almost unrecognizable. The fleche was demolished after the Second World War.
In 1989 Moscow Catholics stated the necessity of returning the church to its rightful owner – the Roman-Catholic Church. Beginning from 7 June, 1991, Holy Masses were celebrated each Sunday in the yard of the church. In spite of the fact that the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov had signed a resolution to gradually free the space and pass it over to serve the church’s needs, the parish could not get back all the rooms for several years.
The church acquired its former beauty as early as before the end of the XX century, thanks to the donations of charitable organizations and Catholics from all over the world, and to the prayers and selfless help of the parishioners. On the 12 December 1999 it was consecrated by His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State of the Vatican and the legate of Pope John Paul II, to become the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary.
A large pipe organ “Kuhn” is installed in the Cathedral. It is one of the biggest organs in Russia. More about the organ.
The Cathedral’s web-site is www.catedra.ru
Please click Contacts for the address and the map.