Cathedral of Mary Magdalen Equal to the Apostles (Warsaw)

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The Cathedral of Mary Magdalen Equal to the Apostles in Warsaw is the cathedral of Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church, built in 1869.

This is the first orthodox church in Warsaw constructed as a separate building (before its construction, there were only private chapels). It was built on demand of prince Cherkasov, a Tsarist official responsible for internal affairs of Polish land incorporated to Russia in XVIIIth century, and for the development of Orthodoxy in this region. The place where the church was built was carefully chosen: on the other side of the road, there was a railway station connecting Warsaw to native Russian lands and the Orthodox church was to serve the coming and leaving passengers.

The construction started in June 1867. The main architect of the church was a Russian engineer named Palitsyn, while two artists named Vinogradov and Vasiliev made the frescoes inside and a magnificent, goldened ikonostasis. It was planned to put gas lamps inside the church, but finally the authorities decided to stay with traditional lightning with candles. The tsar's wife, Maria Aleksandrovna, also contributed to the construction by funding some icons to the church. After two years, the building was complete.

After Poland gained back its independence in 1918, the new authorities started a large-scaled action against Orthodoxy in the country, that in governmental plans was to be fully Roman Catholic. Most of Orthodox chapels and churches in Poland were destroyed and out of almost twenty such buildings in Warsaw only two were spared. Because of that, Mary Magdalen church in Warsaw suddenly became the most splendid Orthodox church in Poland and in 1921 was made its Metropolitan Cathedral.

It is located in Warsaw in Praga Północ district.


  • K. Sokoł, A. Sosna, Kopuły nad Wisłą. Prawosławne cerkwie w centralnej Polsce w latach 1815-1915, Moskwa, MID "Synergia" 2003, ISBN 5-7368-0301-2