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The first stone of the cathedral was consecrated on May 11, 1980 by Pope John Paul II during his first pastoral visit to Côte d'Ivoire . He also dedicated the building completion on August 10, 1985 during a second visit to the country. The cost of implementing this architectural work is estimated at $11.7 million.
Saint Paul's Cathedral served as a refuge for approximately 1,800 Ivorians fleeing violence during the height of the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis which engulfed Abidjan.