Russia: only Catholic church to live through Soviet era now uses CTS Altar Missal

St Louis des Francais Catholic Church in the Russian Capital

The only Catholic Church that stayed open in Russia throughout the Soviet period is now using the New Roman Missal published by the CTS.

St Louis des Francais Catholic Church was founded as a church for foreigners. Catherine the Great granted permission in 1786 for the construction of a church to serve French subjects living in Moscow. The church was consecrated in 1835.

The priests are members of the Assumptionists’ order. There are masses in various languages each Sunday including an English-language service at 9.30am celebrated by the Parish Priest Fr Adrien Masson and/or Fr Paul Chemparathy of the local Jesuit college (both pictured).

St Louis des Francais Catholic Church in Moscow

English-language services are attended by people from all over the world and many walks of life, including ambassadors, students, foreigners working in Moscow and tourists. As well as native English speakers from countries including the UK, Ireland, Australia, and the US, the congregation includes many who don’t have the opportunity to attend masses in Moscow celebrated in their native tongue.

Thanks to Maureen O’Donoghue for the text of this post.

Of related interest:

RM09 CTS New Sunday Missal – White Presentation Edition – The CTS New Sunday and Daily Missals are a brand-new edition being published to coincide with the launch of the new English translation of the Mass (2011). This one is white leather, with gold page edges, in box an ideal present.
RM10 CTS New Sunday Missal – Presentation Edition – New translation of the Mass with the current 3-year cycle of readings, for Sundays (and solemnities) Leather-covered hardback in a box.
RM07a CTS New Daily Missal – The new translation of the Mass together with the current 3-year cycle of readings, for Sundays and all weekdays of the year.

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5 comments on “Russia: only Catholic church to live through Soviet era now uses CTS Altar Missal

  1. That’s actually a very good suisggteon. The CTS are obviously busy right now with this English Missal but with the expertise they have gained in the production process, they would be well-placed to produce a fine edition of the older Missal as well.

  2. I wish we knew exactly how many Catholic churches, property, and even cemeteries were confiscated by the Communists and intentionally desecrated. Then, the churches were either destroyed or might have been used temporarily for some, “government purpose”. My maternal grandparents, as well as my mother, are Volga Deutsche, ethnic German settlers invited into Russia centuries earlier by Catherine the Great when she married the Russian Tsar. Many of these German settlers were Catholic. My grandfather and his family were from Schuck, and my grandmother and her family were from Pfeiffer. Stating that they were persecuted by the Bolshevik’s/Communist’s is a gross understatement. My Great-Uncle, my grandfathers brother, was Ordained a Latin Rite Catholic Priest by and for The Diocese of Tiraspol (Saratov), in 1912. He was falsely arrested, given a show trial, and taken away to some Gulag in Siberia, exiled to live a life of hard labor in horrible conditions until they died of either malnutrition, exposure, disease, overwork, or some combination of the above. Some simply received a bullet to the brain. The Russian government owes The Catholic Church compensation both for the churches, property, and cemeteries they stole, but also for the Catholics, especially the Clergy, that essentially murdered, forcibly relocated, and often outright killed.

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  4. Maureen O'Donoghue

    December 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm Reply

    Martin – in the Soviet period all churches became state property. Some were destroyed and most others put to different use. In the last twenty years some of those put to other uses have been returned to their previous owners. In Moscow for example St Andrew’s Church was returned to the Anglican Church after being used as a recording studio and more recently the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was returned to the Catholic church after a long campaign by Catholic clergy. These churches are now in active use again. Churches remaining state property include those in the Kremlin which remain museums.
    St Louis des Francais was able to remain an active Catholic church throughout the Soviet period through a combination of diplomatic protection from the French and US governments and the courage and ingenuity of its clergymen and parishioners. Wikipedia cites a book by Thaddaeus Kondrusiewicz in support of there having been two Catholic churches which remained functioning at the end of the 1930s, St Louis des Francais and Our Lady of Lourdes in St. Petersburg. Wikipedia is not always a reliable source, but Thaddaeus Kondrusiewicz was our bishop until a few years ago. Having survived to the end of the 1930s Our Lady of Lourdes may well have made it through the whole Soviet period – I was not aware of this.

  5. I don’t think St Louis was the only church in Russia to remain open throughout the Soviet period: there was also Our Lady of Lourdes in Leningrad/St Petersburg, still going strong.

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