In 1804 the capital of the Don Cossack Host was moved from Cherkassk to Novocherkassk. In 1805 on Ascension a new cathedral of the Don Cossack Host was laid down. The project had to be one of the highest churches in Russia.

The construction of the cathedral began in 1811 but dragged on for nearly a century. In 1818 the Rusca brothers, Italian architects who began the construction of the cathedral, left Russia and the cathedral was finished by the Russian architect Amvrosimov. However, in 1846 the almost finished cathedral collapsed. 

After that the construction was commissioned to another Russian architect Valprede. However, in a hurry the technologies of brick laying were not followed and the second cathedral also collapsed in 1863. As a result, it was decided to build the third cathedral in 1891. It was finished by May 6, 1905. The Novocherkassk cathedral was one of the first Russian buildings where reinforced concrete constructions were used to strengthen the foundation.

The Ascension cathedral is one of the largest churches in Russia. In 2011 there was undertaken a large-scale restoration of the cathedral. As a result, the domes were again covered by gold and а piece of rock crystal was put in the cross. 

In 2014 Patriarch Cyril gave it the status of a patriarchal cathedral. It is the second patriarchal cathedral in Russia after the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.