Roman Catholic Church in Irkutsk

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a Catholic church in the city of Irkutsk. It is located in the historical center of the city, at Sukhe-Bator street, 1. An architectural monument of federal significance. Due to the fact that the construction of the temple was carried out by the Polish community, it is also known as the Polish Church. In Poland, the church is included in the list of Polish cultural heritage. Currently, the temple houses the Organ Hall of the Irkutsk Philharmonic. Currently, the temple houses the Organ Hall of the Irkutsk Philharmonic.



In the first half of the 19th century, a wooden church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in Irkutsk, whose parishioners were Poles who were exiled to Siberia after the November Uprising of 1830. This temple burned down in 1879. On the site of the burned down church in 1884, a new stone church was built, which has survived to our time.

With the final establishment of Soviet power in Irkutsk, the times became tough for the church and the Roman Catholic community. In 1938 the community was disbanded and the divine service was finally stopped. The building of the church housed the East Siberian newsreel studio. The building has not undergone external destruction (although from the inside it was rebuilt beyond recognition).


In 1974-1978, work was carried out to restore the church. Their task was to return its original appearance to the building. There were plans to open the Museum of the History of Poles in Siberia in the premises of the church. However, later the authorities’ plan to place the organ hall of the Irkutsk Regional Philharmonic Society in this building prevailed.

In 1978-1990, the Philharmonic Hall was opened in the reconstructed building of the Catholic Church, followed by its intensive concert and touring practice. A specially designed concert organ of the German company “Alexander Schuke” was installed.

After the restoration of the Catholic community in Irkutsk in 1991, attempts were made to return the church to Catholics. But the transfer of the church to the Catholics did not take place, since the building was already a musical and concert institution and was classified as a historical monument, and the building was also small in capacity and did not meet the modern needs of the local Catholic environment.


In this regard, with the mutual consent of the city authorities of Irkutsk and the Roman Catholic administration, it was decided to build a large Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God on the street of Griboyedov. After the establishment by the Holy See of the diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk, a new Catholic cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built.

 Today, the church belongs to the Irkutsk Philharmonic. The Catholic community of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates in it daily services after the organ concerts.

Translate Anastasija Olesova, The University of Manchester , 3rd year, BA (Hons) Politics and Russian