The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Moscow, 1997-1999

Begun in 1906 and completed in 1911, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception served as the center of Catholic life for the 30,000 Poles living in Moscow at the beginning of the twentieth century. Between 1911 and 1917, an additional amount of money was raised to complete the work and to provide furnishings for the church. The Catholic Church, as well as it could under communism, served the faithful at this cathedral until 1930, when the Bolsheviks seized it and transformed it into a metalworking factory and office space.
In January 1990, just two years before the fall of Soviet tyranny, the state granted registration to the Catholic parish of the Immaculate Conception. Soon after, the parish council requested the return of the church building, but it was not until May 1991, that the Ministry of Justice of the "Mossoviet" officially accepted the "establishment document." And it was not until January 1996 that the longtime occupants finally withdrew from the cathedral. The following month the parish received from the state official permission granting permanent use of the church. Reconstruction then began in earnest. On 8 December 1999, amid impressive celebrations, Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Cardinal Sodano reconsecrated the cathedral. A. C. R. was recognized at the ceremony for its major contributions to the reconstruction.