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St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral

146, Kniaz Boris I St,1301 Sofia



St. Joseph Cathedral is the largest Catholic temple in Bulgaria. It is located in Sofia and is a Co-cathedral of the Diocese of Sofia and Plovdiv, together with the Plovdiv Cathedral of St. Ludwig. The temple has 350 seats and can accommodate up to 1,000 worshipers. The main hull of the building, along with the roof, is 23 meters high and the bell tower is 33 meters high. The cathedral is equipped with an organ, and above the altar stands a 7-meter wooden cross of Christ. Beneath the cross, an Orthodox icon of the Virgin Mary is placed. It was donated by Patriarch Maxim during the temple's consecration. On both sides of the presbytery there are two statues - the patron of the Cathedral of St. Joseph and the patron of the Capuchins St. Francis of Assisi. On the right side of the door is the icon of God's Mercy with the inscription: "Jesus, I trust in You!" This icon is related to the piousness of God's Mercy and the phenomenon of Jesus of the Faustina Kowalski. At the entrance is also the statue of Our Lady, of Lourdes who appeared to Saint Bernadette Suburus in 1858. On the other side of the cathedral's gate, there are statues of some of the most venerated saints in the Catholic Church - St. Teresa of Jesus Christ, a carmelite, and St. Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan. Near the fence of the cathedral is located the statue of the blessed Pope John XXIII. It was consecrated by Pope John Paul II during his visit to the parish in 2002. The temple is managed by the Order of Capuchins, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi.
The construction of the temple began in October 1875. The parish priest of the Order of the small brothers of St. Francis - the Italian Capuchin Father Timothy of Biella - made an outstanding contribution to the construction. As a developing capital at the beginning of the XX century, Sofia attracted many people from Western Europe. The city was home to many Italians, Czechs, Hungarians, Frenchmen, most of whom were Catholics, and gradually the parish grew to 2000 people. A hospital, a capuchin monastery, a college and a concert hall were built around the temple to serve the needs of the community. On 30 March 1944 the original cathedral was completely destroyed during the bombing of the city. The only thing that survived the attack was the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes. For about 50 years, the Catholic community in Sofia held its meetings and liturgies in a small saloon near the site of the destroyed temple. Low profile had to be kept as the communist regime suppressed all religious activity. In 2002, during his visit to Bulgaria, Pope John Paul II blessed the construction of the new temple on the site of the old one. The new building of the temple was consecrated by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano on May 21, 2006. Believers from all the Catholic dioceses in Bulgaria were present at the ceremony.
The consecration of the temple was honored by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Metropolitans Dometian of Vidin and Neophyte of Ruse and the chief secretary of the Holy Synod Archimandrite Naum were present at the solemn service. Metropolitan Dometian congratulated believers and donated an icon of the Virgin Mary on behalf of Patriarch Maxim. Deputy Chief Mufti Shenol Ali honored the occasion as a representative of the Bulgarian Muslim community.
The Capuchins are the third great monastic community within the First Order of St. Francis Assisi. It stems from the strong desire for the most authentic imitation of Christ in the spirit of St. Francis and his first brethren and was confirmed by the Church on July 3, 1528. The Bulgarian mission was founded in 1841 and has been the most influential Catholic order in the country ever since.
Classroom activity: Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of Students

"The Sacred Heart" of Jesus Church - the town of Rakovski

St. Ludwig Cathedral - Plovdiv / Knyaginya Maria Luiza Blvd., 1

The St Paul of the Cross Cathedral, Rousse - the city of Rousse, Northeastern Bulgaria.


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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.