The Moscow Roman Catholic Cathedral

The Moscow Roman Catholic Cathedral
23 September 2016

No more than a fifteen-minute walk from Liden and Denz Moscow is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Собо́р Непорочного Зачатия Пресвятой Девы Марии) or, in simpler terms, the Moscow Roman Catholic Cathedral. It is the largest Catholic Church in Russia and there is only one other in the whole of Moscow. With architecture inspired by famous European neo-gothic buildings such as Milan Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, this (rather appropriately) cardinal red treasure is something to behold, especially when the onion domes of Russian Orthodox churches start to become a familiar sight.


The Cathedral was only elevated to such a status in 2002, but it had endured almost a century of history before this. Completed no more than six years before the Russian Revolution, the Roman Catholic Cathedral enjoyed only a short period as a place of worship for the Catholic population of Moscow before it was closed by the Soviet authorities in 1938 and reopened as a church in 1996.


Restoration and Recreation

Since its restoration a decade ago, the Cathedral has taken on a new meaning in the religious life of the Russian capital. Not only is it a rare gem in the predominantly Orthodox capital, but it is also a multinational centre of worship, giving services in as many as eight languages, including English, Spanish and Korean. It has also become a music venue, playing host to organ concerts, choir performances and other recitals of classical, folk and religious genres. The organ itself tells quite a story – it was a gift from the Basel Münster Cathedral and its pipes arrived in Moscow wrapped in new clothes donated by the people of Basel to be distributed amongst the needy in the organ’s new city. If that doesn’t warm your cockles, nothing will!


Congregate (with cats)

This place of worship is a true point of congregation, bringing together people of all nations from across this colossal city. Its extravagant exterior encases a much more humble and plan interior, with modern stained glass window designs and a rather unique and artistic cross above the simple altar. For a glimpse of some architecture that is incongruous to its Moscow setting and a moment of repose, or even just to play with the incredibly cute kittens that patrol its grounds and garden, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is well worth a look.


The Moscow Roman Catholic Cathedral (Собор Непорочного Зачатия Пресвятой Девы Марии) is located on Malaya Gruzinskaya Ulitsa (Ул. Малая Грузинская)

Metro Belorusskaya/Kracnopresnenskaya/Barrikadnaya.


Information on upcoming concerts and recitals held at the Cathedral can be found at


Ellie Davis, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Moscow

Posted by Ellie

Hi there! I am a Modern Languages graduate from the UK, spending some time in Moscow to get some work experience, practice my Russian and enjoy the city! I hope you enjoy the blog.

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