The first officially registered religious community in Nikolaev appeared already 3 years after the city was founded. It was the Greek Catholic community that in 1794 was given fairly modest premises, which used to be a warehouse. Parish constructed a small dome on top of the building. The community was rather active and regularly brought new members of parish to the church. Due to their activity a new impressive church was built in front of the old building in 1896.
The new building was designed by an Odessa architect V. Dombrovsky in Goth style. The church had a shape of a cross with two tall bell towers built from red brick decorated with white stucco. The interior of the church was stunning and luxurious. Besides an organ, the gem of the church, there were also marble statues of Saints made by artists from Warsaw. Stained glass windows were produced by leading artists from Germany.
In 1936 the church, along with many other religious establishments, was shut down by the Soviet authorities. They founded a warehouse inside, and later the place was turned into a local history museum. Later they rapidly constructed the floor with beams, placed stars instead of crosses on the high spears, hang Bolshevik mottos on the façade and turned the church into a club. The impressive organ that the church was most proud of was disassembled.
The church was given back to believers only in the 1990s. In 1991 the beams were taken away and people tried to give the church its original look, but they were lacking the necessary tools. New organ was too expensive. If the parish of the Church of St. Mary of the city of Bochum in Germany didn’t give an organ to Nikolaev church as a gift, there would still be no organ there. The organ of 28 registers, with two manuals and a pedal keyboard was manufactured in 1950 by a famous firm that belonged to Stockman brothers. Unfortunately, the instrument was badly damaged during transportation, and it seemed it couldn’t be revived. However, best Polish specialists spent 1.5 months and brought the organ back to life. This is how the church got its fame back with an organ and marvelous acoustic features.
Address of St. Joseph’s church: Nikolaev, Dekabristov street, 32.