The National Shrine

Nacionalno svetište sv. Josipa

The St. Joseph Church in Karlovac is located at the foot of the Dubovac Castle hill. Its modern design adorns the area in the vicinity of the centuries old wood and the Dubovac neighbourhood, connecting the work of divine nature with people. It is the first church built in Karlovac after the Second World War. Today, it is the St. Joseph National Shrine of the Croatian Catholic Church. 

Having descended the wooden steps from the castle, you’ll come across the first example of religious heritage at the early Baroque Our Lady of the Snows Church, with its Stations of the Cross. The second example is just a little bit further on: the little sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, with its apparition cave. Just a few more steps will take you to the St. Joseph Church. Go inside. Take a break. Feel the serenity.

The St. Joseph worshipers have been making the pilgrimage to the shrine since the church was opened, as this church serves as a way station for pilgrims going to other Croatian pilgrimage sites. Regardless of one’s religion, a visit to the shrine is a part of culture and a chance for spiritual renewal for all of us.


The St. Joseph Church was built thanks to its parishioners’ contributions and donations. Franjo Kuharić, the assistant bishop at the time, blessed the cornerstone on July 14, 1968, while on September 15, 1974, the archbishop, Franjo Šeper, dedicated the new church. The vision of a national shrine came true two decades after the inception. 

St. Joseph is the patron saint of Karlovac, and the main feast takes place on March 19, preceded by nine Wednesdays of preparations. St. Joseph is also the patron saint and protector of Croatia. That is celebrated in June, marking the date in 1687 when members of the Croatian State Parliament chose St. Joseph as the protector of the homeland and the Croatian people. The feast of St. Joseph the Worker is celebrated on May 1, while the Dedication of the Church is celebrated on the first Sunday after September 15. 

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