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Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary church

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Address: Pokrovskaya str., 43 (formerly Komsomolskaya str.)
Year of construction: allegedly 1849


Today it is not known for certain when exactly this stone church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in Izmail. According to some reports this happened in 1849. However, documents directly confirming this fact have not yet been found.

The plate “I.N. 1927” can be attributed to more specific facts – it is located on the building of the office of the Roman Catholic parish, adjacent to the church. Letters I.H. most likely should be interpreted as “From our Lord Jesus Christ”.

It is also reliably known that in the second half of the 19th century premises for the housing of priests and farm buildings were built. The parish also owned a large plot of land, so the priest served a large farm. A parish school also functioned at the church.

Authorization for the construction of a church in Izmail was obtained by mid-1845, but state loans to construction projects were refused (not for the first time). The Consistory in Kamenetz-Podolsky instructed the Roman Catholic community to find other sources to cover the costs associated with the construction of the temple.

1930 вид на костел измаил
1930. View of the church from the City Garden (it is visible behind the trees).

The authorities closed the church after the accession of our region to the Soviet Ukraine in 1940. On July 10, 1940, the NKVD arrested the last priest, John Khondru, who worked in Izmail for more than 30 years. On June 8, 1941, he was sentenced to eight years in prison camps where he died.

In 1947 (in other sources – in 1949) the executive committee of the Izmail city council handed over the temple building for equipping a sports hall here. Wardrobes and toilets were equipped in auxiliary rooms and a gym in the temple itself. Due to the unsatisfactory technical condition of the building, which was badly damaged by seismic hits, in 1995 the city authorities closed the gym and put the building for sale. The priority right to purchase was granted to the Catholic Church.

Church authorities refused to buy the building, asking about free return of the temple. Efforts to return him back began in 1993 – about 150 Izmail citizens declared their belonging to Catholicism. They all insisted on restoring the parish.

On October 3, 1996, the authorities handed over the keys to the destroyed church to believers in the presence of Stanislav Padevsky, the bishop of the Kamenetz-Podolsky diocese, Father Jan Mukha, as well as parishioners Vanda Golub, Elena Podorozhnaya, Isabella Ivanyuk, Bronislava Borkovskaya, Lyudmila Zhdanovich-Oleynik.

It should be noted the great contribution of Wanda Golub (1920 – 2004), that she made to the process of returning the Catholic church. Having settled in Izmail in 1938, Mrs. Wanda never stopped dreaming about restoring a defiled church. At a fairly respectable age she took on the shoulders the organization of this work. She went to Warsaw and Kamenetz-Podolsky, asking for a priest to be sent to Izmail for permanent service, participated in negotiations with the city authorities regarding return of the temple and took an active part in its revival.

On May 3, 2003, the priest Romuald Blevonzka became the rector of the parish of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God in Izmail. Under his leadership the overhaul of the temple began. First of all, they strengthened the foundation and walls of the shrine, renewed the roof and windows. The former flat ceiling was replaced by a dome. They built five small towers that perform decorative functions.

At the initiative of Father Romuald the belfry restore work was carried out too – it’s a typical detail of Roman Catholic churches. This work was mainly done by parishioners. The construction of the tower was completed in 2006, the top was covered with a spire made of galvanized metal and crowned with a Catholic cross. Funds for the repair of the temple were allocated from the Vatican funds, as well as from the German charity fund “Kirche in Not”. In 2008 Father Romuald Blevonzka was forced to return to Poland due to a serious health condition, where he underwent a heart transplant.

The Roman Catholic parish in Izmail is the smallest religious community in the city. It consists of about 100 believers, 50 people attend worship services regularly. Since 2008 the rector of the parish is Fr. Adam Shikhovich. In addition, a vicar and two Benedictine sisters work in the parish. The sisters help with the catechism, which is held regularly on Saturdays and Sundays, and organize summer camps for children.

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