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Catholic Church “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in Bitola

The increasing number of Catholic believers in Bitola in the middle of XIX century, as a result of the opening of numerous consular offices, foreign officials, merchants, and members of their families required constant presence of a priest, who would take care of the spiritual needs of the population, spiritual and school education of children and other believers.

This situation contributed in 1848 to be appointed permanent pastor whose stay in Bitola was quite short.

French Lazarists played the most important role in the establishment of the first Catholic Parish in Bitola in 1856. Founder of the Parish was Father Jean-Joseph Lepavek who after his arrival took full care of the spiritual life of the believers. He in 1857 from the “valy” of Bitola  – Redzep Pasha bought the hotel Locanda, which was located on Main Street “Shirok Sokak”, and was built for the Turkish army.


Joseph Lepavek made a small chapel where on Easter 1857 he served the first Divine Liturgy, and the chapel was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catholic mission had great support from the French Consulate which in different ways supported its work. With the strengthening of the Parish for the needs of their faithful, the Catholic Church was built, together with other facilities.

In the next period were opened within the Parish school and boarding. In 1870 year on the present location on Main Street (Shirok Sokak) was built a new Catholic church. This church built in Baroque style in 1900 was burned in a fire. In its place in 1909 today’s Catholic Church was built in the gothic French style.

The architectural plan for the construction of the Catholic Church was designed by a French architect but realized by the Macedonian masters.

The interior of the church consists of three altars, a large number of icons and statues of different sizes, baptistery and benches for worshipers.

The main altar of wood in Gothic German style was made in Munich, Germany. The other two smaller altars are made in French gothic style. The new altar and the wellspring made the walnut in 1975, and it was made by one of the most famous Macedonian engravers George Karadzov (Ѓорѓи Караџов).

The most dominant of all the statues is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is located in the center of the altar.

The church tower was built between 1938 – 1940, and was a gift from Slovenian believers.
Today the Catholic Church, continues to serve the believers in the Bitola region, proudly standing as one of the main city tourist attractions.