Saint Joseph’s Cathedral is a historical monument, a place of worship that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest. The cathedral was built between 1875-1883, according to the plans of the architects Carol Benesch and Friedrich Schmidt from Vienna.
As a style, it borrows characteristics of the Romanesque style, with some Gothic elements. The building is 40 meters long and 22 meters wide and is the most famous Roman Catholic church in Bucharest.
The cathedral was consecrated by Archbishop Ignatius Paoli on February 15, 1884. “All the priests of the Archdiocese, all the seminarians, the entire diplomatic corps accredited in Bucharest, the president of the Council of Ministers, the president of the Senate, the mayor of the Capital and many others were present.
Mihail Kogălniceanu was surprised and impressed by the grandeur of the construction, he declared in the same year, from the rostrum of the Parliament, that “it is the most beautiful religious building that exists in Romania”.
The temple of the cathedral was chosen in honor of Saint Joseph, the betrothed of the Virgin Mary. The feast of the patron saint of the cathedral is March 19.
The founder of the cathedral is bishop Ignatius Paoli. The construction was carried out at that time with the money of the faithful from Bucharest, but also with donations from established personalities. The works were led until 1880 by the monk Alfons Zegers, an architect in training.
He was called to Bucharest from the Passionist monastery in Dublin, by Bishop Paoli. Starting with the year 1880, the works under own direction were led by the Romanian architect Carol Benesch.
The lack of funds and the outbreak of the War of Independence in 1877 made the work progress very slowly, in stages, until 1883. In the late autumn of that year, the construction was completed.
However, the resistance structure of the cathedral is endangered by the construction, starting in the late 1990s, less than ten meters away of an office building, called Cathedral Plaza, the construction of which was declared illegal.
The main altar of the Cathedral was executed in Rome, in white Carrara marble, according to the plans of the architects Friedrich Schmidt and Carol Benesch, and then mounted in Bucharest by the specialist Niccolo Orassi. The carpentry of the ceiling was apparently executed in Brașov.