The Roman Catholic Cathedral “Saint Joseph” stands proudly in the heart of Sofia, near Saint Nedelya Square.
Its construction commenced in October 1875, driven significantly by the efforts of Capuchin Father Timothy of Biella, a parish priest from the Order of the Little Brothers of St. Francis. Sofia’s burgeoning status as a developing capital attracted numerous European migrants, including Italians, Czechs, Hungarians, and French—most of whom were Catholics. This led to a substantial growth in the parish from 50 families to a congregation of 2000 people. Over time, the parish evolved to host cultural and educational initiatives, eventually founding a hospital and a school.
However, tragedy struck in March 1944 when the cathedral fell victim to the bombings of Sofia, resulting in its complete destruction. Among the remnants, the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes remained preserved. For nearly half a century following the destruction, the Catholic community in Sofia gathered for meetings and liturgies in a modest hall near the site of the ravaged church.
In 2002, during his visit to Bulgaria, Pope John Paul II laid the foundation stone for the construction of the new church. This marked the beginning of a new chapter. The cathedral’s new building was inaugurated and solemnly consecrated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, in May 2006.
The cathedral’s architecture is striking, boasting impressive dimensions: 23 meters in length, 15 meters in width, and standing 19 meters tall, with a bell tower soaring to 33 meters in height. A prominent 7-meter wooden cross of Christ adorns the area above the altar, while a serene space at the back offers a beautiful view of the surroundings. The Capuchin Friars Minor, a congregation founded by Saint Francis of Assisi, oversee the operations of this remarkable temple.
Sunday: 08:00-15:00, 17:00-19:00