In Baku (Address: 2A Orudjeva Street, Baku, AZ1110) there is the only Catholic Church in Azerbaijan — the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its parish is under the pastoral care of the Apostolic Prefecture of Azerbaijan. The Catholic community in Baku was founded only in 1882. In particular, a Catholic chapel was built in the city at that time. A little later, in 1894, the church approved the construction of a new church, which was started only in 1909 and finished in 1912. It was called the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The author of the project was the Polish architect Joseph (Jozef) Ploszko. The money for the construction of the church was given mainly by the Rylski family, as well as by Witold Zglenicki, one of the first industrialists engaged in oil extraction from the Caspian Sea. Due to the fact that most of the money for the construction of the temple was given by people of Polish origin, the temple was called «Polish» among the local population. However, after the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan, the temple was destroyed due to the policy of fighting against religion.
The local Catholic community in Baku was restored only in 1997. And in 2002, permission was obtained for the construction of a new church and a plot of land was allocated for it (its location is different from the old, destroyed, church). The permission to obtain the land plot was given directly by the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev. Permission for the construction of the temple was obtained, among other things, thanks to the visit of Pope John Paul II to Azerbaijan on 22 May 2002. The construction was finished in 2006, and it was consecrated in 2007. At the same time, it was consecrated in honour of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that is, it repeats the name of the old temple.
The author of the project of the new church is the Italian architect Paulo Ruggiero. The style of construction is modern, with neo-Gothic elements. Above the entrance to the temple is a sculpture of the Blessed Virgin made by local craftsmen. In particular, the author of the statue project is sculptor Huseyn Akhverdiyev, and the stained glass windows were designed by artist Zohrab Mutallibov. The premises of the temple is designed for 200 seats. The official address is 10 Orudjeva Street, Baku (corner of Nobel Avenue and Rafieva Street). Interestingly, Holy Masses on Saturday and Sunday are held not only in Russian, but also in English. Traditional Holy Masses are also held on Wednesday and on Thursday.
In 2012, in honour of the anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Azerbaijan, a Holy Mass was celebrated for local parishioners at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baku. It was conducted by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who arrived from Vatican on this occasion. At the same time, after the Holy Mass, the Pastoral Centre was solemnly opened, which had been built in the courtyard of the church. Further, after the opening of the Pastoral Centre, a memorial plaque dedicated to the visit of Pope John Paul II to Azerbaijan in 2002 was inaugurated inside the temple.
It is worth noting that the active Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is currently the most popular and most visited Catholic church both in Baku and throughout Azerbaijan. All conditions have been created in it for the performance of solemn and regular Masses, as well as for ordinary parishioners to visit it. The temple is also unique in its architecture and simply represents a pearl of local architecture.