The church was built in 1913 to serve Russian pilgrims coming to Bari to venerate the relics of Saint Nicholas. The complex, built with monies contributed by all the Russian Orthodox monasteries and churches on St. Nicholas Feast days, included lodging for pilgrims. After the Bolshevik Revolution slowed the stream of pilgrims, the city of Bari purchased the property. The Russian Orthodox church has continued its presence, while city offices were in part of the buildings. The church and some buildings were returned in 1998 and 2001. In 2007 the whole site was returned to Russian Orthodox ownership.