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St. Ludwig Cathedral

St. Ludwig Cathedral

Plovdiv / Knyaginya Maria Luiza Blvd., 1



Saint Ludwig Cathedral is one of largest and most important Roman Catholic temples in Bulgaria. It is located in Plovdiv and is a Co-cathedral of the Diocese of Sofia and Plovdiv, together with the Sofia Cathedral of Saint Joseph. The temple is dedicated to Louis IX of France, commonly known as "Saint Louis". The Architecture is an eclectic combination of Neoclassicism and Baroque. The facade features many statues, semi-colonies and decorative ornaments. The florentine style belfry is known under the name “Kula Leontiana”. The tomb of Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, is located on the right side of the main altar. Under her sarcophagus, there is an inscription with her last words toward King Ferdinand I: "I am dying, but I will watch over you from heaven, over our children and over Bulgaria." The sanctuary of the Blessed Pavel Djidjov also resides in the temple. Father Pavel Jidjov (1919 - 1952) was an assumptionist, a martyr for the faith and patron of the youth in the Sofia-Plovdiv diocese. In 1995 Saint Ludwig Cathedral was declared a monument of culture of national importance.
The Catholic parish in Plovdiv dates back to 1768, but there was no temple in the city, and the missionaries had to serve the Holy Liturgy on the houses, sometimes in secret. In 1836, Bishop Ivan Pacek of the missionary Redemptorists succeeded in obtaining a Sultan's decree for the construction of a small Catholic church in Plovdiv. A chapel was built in 1839, but it was completely destroyed by fire in 1856. In 1840 Pope Gregory XVI replaced the Redemptorists missionaries in Plovdiv with the capuchins. In 1843 the Italian Andrea Kanova was appointed an Apostolic Deputy of the Diocese and, taking advantage of the patronage of the European Consuls in Plovdiv, he managed to build temples in all Catholic parishes in the region The construction of the Saint Ludwig cathedral began in 1858. It was completed and inaugurated in honor of Saint Louis by Bishop Kanova on the 25th of March 1861. That same year the first pipe organ in Bulgaria was installed in the temple. It was replaced in 1991 with a larger 12-stop pipe organ. The belfry was built in 1898 and was equipped with five bells cast in the German city of Bochum, a gift from Pope Leo XIII.
Princess Marie Louise often came Plovdiv with charity missions. She was extremely pious, maintaining a strong spiritual connection with the Roman Catholic Church. Her godfather was Pope Pious IX himself The princess was a frequent guest of the Bishop of Sofia-Plovdiv Diocese. The visit of Pope John Paul II to Bulgaria in May 2002 was an event of paramount importance to the country and its people. John Paul II was the first Pope to enter a synagogue, a mosque and a protestant church. His message of religious tolerance, solidarity and reconciliation was received enthusiastically by the Bulgarian people. This event contributed significantly towards the consolidating the relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. During his visit, the Holy Father beatified three Bulgarian Assumptionist priests, Kamen Vitchev, Pavel Djidjov and Josaphat Chichov as martyrs for the faith.
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.
- Virtual tour - photos and video in the media resources section.
- Classroom activity - Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of Students

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

St. Joseph Cathedral - 146, Kniaz Boris I St,1301 Sofia





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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.