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History of St. Anne’s Cathedral in Debrecen

St. Anne’s Cathedral (Szent Anna-székesegyház) in Debrecen is the seat church and parish church of the Diocese of Debrecen-Nyíregyháza.

One of the conditions for the city to receive the free royal city title more than 300 years ago was that the city designate land for the Catholic church.  The parish has been operating in Debrecen since 1716. The proponent of the church construction was Count Imre Csáky, – the Archbishop of Kalocsa, and Bishop of Oradea and Chief Lieutenant of Bihor County.

The construction of the church and convent of St. Anne’s Cathedral began in 1721 at the expense of Count Imre Csáky. Csáky wanted to exemplify the power of Catholics before “Calvinist Rome” with a representative church.

He commissioned the Milan-born Giovanni Battista Carlone to draw up the plans and lead the construction. The church was consecrated in honor of the mother of the Virgin Mary, St. Anne, and was consecrated on May 5, 1746, when Csáky was already resting in the crypt.

Carlone built a baroque church without a tower, it was subsequently damaged in the great fire of 1811. Ferenc Povolny, a master builder who moved from Eger to Debrecen, was asked to renovate the church and build towers in 1834. 

St. Anne’s Church  won its final façade according to Povolny’s plans. It received its helmeted, braid-style, almost 45-meter-high pair of towers. On its façade, sculptures of limestone were carved by members of the Carlone family, where they remain today.

St Anna’s Cathedral – Debrecen

The 273-year-old church, which is now painted with the colour of the “city yellow”, is one of the centers of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Debrecen-Nyíregyháza and it has been a cathedral since 1993, when Pope John Paul II awarded this rank.

Its co-cathedral is the co-cathedral of Our Lady (Magyarok Nagyasszonya) of Nyíregyháza.

While visiting Debrecen why not visit and view the certified replica of the Turin Shroud which has been on display in the Cathedral since 2011.