Parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Address: Nevsky Ave, 32-34, St. Petersburg

Metro: Nevsky prospect

Parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria in St. Petersburg

From the very beginning of St. Petersburg, Peter I laid not only fortresses, palaces and museums, but also the spirit and tradition of religious tolerance. The emperor wanted to see in the city the temples of all denominations, whose representatives worked and lived in the new capital. So in 1716 the parish of St. Catherine of Alexandria/Svyatoy Yekateriny Aleksandriyskoy, was founded, and in 1738 Anna Ioannovna signed a decree on the construction of a Catholic church of this community.

It was not the very first Catholic church in St. Petersburg, but it was destined to become a “cradle” for all Catholics in Russia. Taking part in its creation, replacing each other - the author of the project P.Tresini, the beginning of construction - J.-B. Vallen-Delamot, ending - A. Rinaldi, he is the elder of the church community. In connection with the change of the authors of the project and situations in the country, this cathedral was built for a long time - the church of St. Catherine/Svyatoy Yekateriny was consecrated only in 1783.

The cathedral turned out to be a grandiose, topped with a large dome and accommodating at the same time 2 thousand parishioners. The church is separated from the red line of Nevsky Prospect (the idea of ​​P.Tresini), its main facade is made in the form of a majestic arched portal with columns, similar to the arch of “New Holland”. At the top of the attic are the figures of 4 Evangelists and angels with a cross. The church itself is designed in the form of a Latin cross. The decoration of the temple was unusually refined. Above the main altar is placed, donated by Catherine II, the image of the “Mystical betrothal of St. Catherine.

The marble throne itself, distinguished by wealth and beauty, was made in Italy. The inner columns and walls of the temple are lined with artificial marble. German masters created the pride of the temple - a unique organ. The temple created amazing acoustics, which contributes to the creation of unique impressions from both the service and concerts. In the church of sv. Catherine performed works of outstanding masters of sacred music - Cimarosa, Sarti, Manfreddini.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the church already had a huge library - about 60 thousand books in more than 30 languages. With the still unfinished cathedral in 1769, a school was opened in 10 classes, where up to 200 people studied. Under Paul I, a boarding school for children of noblemen was opened here, then a women's gymnasium. For these institutions was specially rebuilt building in the courtyard of the cathedral. In 1889, a free school for girls was opened at the church of St. Catherine, and later a shelter for street children on ulitsa Kirillovskaya. The church was led at different times by various monastic orders — Franciscans (under Catherine II), Jesuits (Paul I), and Dominicans (Alexander I). From the end of the 19th century, the church becomes governed by diocesan priests.

It is known that Auguste Montferan himself got married in the church of St. Catherine, right there he baptized and buried his son (who died in the cholera epidemic of 1830). Here in 1858 the same were funeralized by the architect, the famous author of the Alexander Column and St. Isaac's Cathedral.

At one time, A.Dyuma, F.List, T.Gautier, O. Balzac, A.Mitskevich were guests of the St.Catherine temple. Among the noble parishioners of the cathedral were Prince I. Gagarin, Decembrist M. Lunin, Princess Z. Volkonskaya, Princess A. Golitsyna, Peter Chaadaev, converted to Catholicism.

After the October 1917 coup, the priests of St. Catherine’s Church were arrested and executed. And in 1938, the temple was closed, looted and turned into a storage room. The fire in 1947 contributed to the complete devastation and destruction of church treasures, as a result of which the organ suffered greatly.

The church of St. Catherine first breathed a breath of free air in the late 70s, when Lensovet decided to give the building to the Philharmonic church. At the same time, the restoration and restoration of its interiors began bit by bit.

In the early 1990s, the congregation of the Church of St. Catherine registers again and begins to bother about the return of its cathedral. And since 1992, the Church of St. Catherine is given to Catholics; it becomes the second active Catholic cathedral in St. Petersburg.

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