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Facade of the Catholic cathedral - St Catherine of Alexandria on Nevski Prospect. The parish was founded officially in 1716. In 1710 Tsar Peter I himself became godfather to the first baby baptized Catholic in the city's mission. This was not the first church building in St. Petersburg but it was built in 1763 - 1783 during reign of Catherine II - closed by Communists in 1938, although the paster, Monsignor Konstancy Budkevich, was shot at Lubyanka prison in Moscow in 1923. The church was recently reopened but still much in need of interior restoration. The building was designed by the French architect, J. B. Vallin de La Mothe in neo-classical style. It is thus the oldest and largest Catholic church in Russia.


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