Catholic places of interest in the Russian Federation
For those who grew up outside the Iron Curtain in the 50’s and 60’s it seemed like the Soviet Union would be the perpetual enemy. The rapid collapse of Communism took many by surprise and there is no doubt that this was in part made possible through the influence of Pope John Paul II. Of course the Soviet Union as an entity no longer exists and what we now have is the Russian Federation.
Russia is such an immense country that it is hard to capture it in words. Almost twice the size of the U.S., it has about 11% of the total land area in the world, encompasses 9 time zones, has 25% of the world’s fresh water, and the list goes on and on. With this much geography and diversity it is a country of infinite possibilities for travelers. Despite religious repression, Christianity has survived over the centuries.
And yet, many of us still do not know its history or current conditions. Winston Churchill once stated that Russia was “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma“. It may still seem that way today.
Sadly, with the war in Ukraine, there are few travel opportunities for westerners to visit the country; however, this is bound to change eventually….we just cannot predict when.
Catholic travelers will find that most of the Christian churches in the country are Russian Orthodox, not in communion with Rome. There are some Catholic churches and we are hopeful that restrictions placed upon building new churches will eventually be removed. We have listed the prominent Roman Catholic churches on the respective pages on this site.
Russia offers several locations of particular interest to Catholics and of course it is also a place that many people wish to visit to see just what life is like in a country long thought of as their enemy. Unfortunately, under Mr. Putin, individual liberties are being curtailed and political opposition being silenced, so we are not sure just what the future might hold.
Residents of most countries need to know that unlike most European countries, visas are required to enter Russia. The process is not difficult, but needs to be done in advance of your arrival.
The two most popular cities are Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Up until recently, a Volga River Cruise between these two cities was a great way to see more of the country and really get to know the Russian people. Unfortunate, in 2024, these cruises are not being scheduled due to the war in Ukraine.
And, we personally would not feel safe visiting Russia at this time, but look forward to doing so in the future.
Magadan: In Russia, but part of the Diocese of Anchorage, Alaska