Lviv’s Latin Landmark
Churches and cathedrals dominate the Lviv skyline and serve as the spiritual reservoir of the city’s ancient soul. Lviv’s geopolitical position as a major Eurasian crossroads has served to make the city a place where faiths meet and intermingle, creating a religious mosaic unlike anything found elsewhere in Europe. Three Orthodox churches (Russian Patriarchate, Kyiv Patriarchate and Autocephalous denominations) share the city with Catholic, Greek Catholic, Armenian and Russian churches, while Lviv also boasts a synagogue and other houses of worship.
One of Lviv’s most celebrated and characteristically cosmopolitan houses of worship is the Latin Cathedral, which stands at the south-western corner of Rynok Square. The first church built on this site was constructed in 1344 but was destroyed by fre six years later. In 1360 Polish king Casimir III ordered the construction of the present day church to serve as a focus for the newly created Latin diocese. The church was completed and consecrated in 1481. Throughout the centuries the church was the scene of many historic events and was visited by a number of Polish monarchs including John II Casimir.
Throughout the period 1761-76 the church underwent considerable reconstruction work with the addition of a bell tower and the introduction of numerous Baroque elements which give it its current eye-catching aesthetic.
The Latin Cathedral is one of only two in Lviv which weren't closed or placed under the direction of the Kremlin-controlled Moscow Patriarchate during Soviet times (the other one being the Roman Catholic church of St. Antony located in Lviv’s Lychakiv region). However, despite this apparent concession throughout the Soviet era the church’s bishops resided in Lubaczow in Poland. It was visited and blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2001 during his historic visit to Lviv.
If you would like to know more about Lviv’s fascinating history, take a trip on the city’s Wonder Train and learn all about the long and colourful past of Ukraine’s City of Lions.