Roman Catholicism is the forth largest religious congregation in Bulgaria, after Eastern Orhtodoxy, Islam and Protestanism. It has roots in the country since the Middle ages and is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.
Bulgarian Catholics live predominantly in the regions of Svishtov and Plovdiv and are mostly descendants of the heretical Christian sect of the Paulicians, which converted to Roman Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The largest Roman Catholic Bulgarian town is Rakovski in the Plovdiv region.
Ethnic Bulgarian Roman Catholics known as the Banat Bulgarians also inhabit the Central European region of Banat. Their number is unofficially estimated at about 12,000, although Romanian censuses count only 6,500 Banat Bulgarians in the Romanian part of the region.
Saint Joseph is the largest Catholic cathedral in Bulgaria , has 350 seats and can hold up to 1,000 worshipers. The cathedral is 23 metres long, 15 metres wide and is 19 metres high, with a roof height of 23 metres and the tower is equipped with four electronically operated bells, is 33 metres high.
Over the altar stands a 7 meter wooden cross of Christ. Under the cross is the icon of Mary (mother of Jesus), given by Patriarch Maxim at the dedication of the temple.
The cathedral, rebuilt at its previous location after it was destroyed by bombing raids during World war II,was inaugurated on 21 May 2006 in the presence of the Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano of the Roman Catholic Church.
The foundation stone of the new cathedral was laid personally by Pope Paul II during his visit to Bulgaria in 2002.