Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine
The street of religious tolerance, famously said Alexander Dumas of Nevsky Prospect. Swedish, Dutch, Armenian, German, Roman Catholic and many other churches are close neighbors there. Peter the great allowed religious freedom in an official manifesto in 1702, and Saint Petersburg is the prime example of religious tolerance unheard of Europe in the 18th century.
The ensemble of the former Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine, designed by the architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe (1729-1800), stands on two neighboring plots of land at 32 and 40.
After Vallin de la Moth’s departure from Russia in 1775 the construction was finished by A. Rinaldi. The sanctification of the church took place in October 1783.
Inside the church, the last Polish King, Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski, lies buried.
In 1705 he abdicated and lived to the end of his life in St. Petersburg. Here, to the right of the entrance, lies buried the eminent French military leader, Marshal Moreau, who did not recognize the rule of Napoleon and emigrated from France. After Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 Moreau obtained permission to fight in the Russian army.
In the Catholic Church, the stranger will probably be interested by the simple tablet erected to the memory of General Moreau. This tablet, which is encircled by a small iron railing, that extends scarcely six inches from the wall, bears the following inscription : " General Moreau, born at Morlaix, August, 1763; died September 13, 1813."
James Holman, Travels through Russia, 1834
On August 15, 1813, in a battle near Dresden the marshal was wounded by a French canon-ball and died the following day. His ashes were interred with due ceremony in the cathedral on the main street of Russia’s capital.
[The Romand Catholic Church on Nevsky] is a most graceful building, with a finely proportioned dome and slender Corinthian columns. In the interior is a tablet of white marble edged with black, which bears the name of Moreau, and tells of the brilliant achievements and sad fate of the conqueror of Hohenlinden.
John Murray, 1892
The Roman Catholic Church is a complex building of a cruciform base, crowned with a large dome on an impressive drum. Spacious and light, it was particularly magnificent inside. Fine artistic paintings, stained glass windows, the combination of complicated pylons and sculptures created a wonderful artistic effect.
Not far from the Kazan Cathedral and the German Church is the Roman Catholic St. Catherines Cathedral, before which every Sunday morning stands a dense throng of Poles and Lithuanians. This Cathedral represents the culture of Wes tern and South-western Russia, the Catholicism which Eastern Orthodoxy still regards as its most dangerous rival.
Harold Williams, Russia of the Russians, 1910
In 1828 — 1830 the walls and the Corinthian columns supporting the vaults were faced with artificial marble. Also, a rich marble communion table decorated the central nave. The pride of the church was an excellent organ made to a special order by German masters. Today nothing of the splendour is left.