Religious sites in Lithuania

Vilnius Cathedral

The Cathedral of Vilnius (Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika) is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania and the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania. It is believed that in pre-Christian times, the Baltic pagan god Perkūnas was worshiped at the site of the cathedral. It has also been postulated that the Lithuanian King Mindaugas ordered the construction of the original cath ...
Founded: 1429 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

St. John's Church

One of the most picturesque parts of the Vilnius University is the St. John"s Church and its bell tower. The construction of the Gothic style church lasted for almost 40 years and was completed in 1426. In 1571 the church was transferred to the Order of Jesuits and became a part of the university complexes. Besides masses, the Church of Sts. Johns has also witnessed student protests, theatre performances, and welcom ...
Founded: 1386-1426 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

St. Anne's Church

St. Anne's Church (Šv. Onos bažnyčia) is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne"s is a prominent landmark in the Old Town of Vilnius that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first church at this site, constructed of wood, was built for Anna, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, the first wife of Vytautas the Great. Originall ...
Founded: 1495–1500 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

St. Casimir's Church

St. Casimir’s Church was founded by the Jesuits and dedicated to Lithuania’s patron saint Prince Casimir Jagiellon (1458-1484). The construction of the glorious building began in 1604 and was completed in 1635. Burnt to the ground just 20 years later when the Russians invaded in 1655, conflagration visited twice again within the next century in 1709 and 1749 before the architect, mathematician and astronomer T ...
Founded: 1604-1635 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Orthodox Holy Spirit Church

The complex of the Holy Spirit church and adjacent monastery was established in 1567. The construction was ordered by the King of Lithuania-Poland Wladyslaw Vasa. By the end of the 16th century, a monastery, a school and a printing shop were situated next to the church. In 1749 the church was badly damaged by fire. After the reconstruction between 1749-1753 (made by architect January Kristof Glaubic) the church became th ...
Founded: 1567 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Church of St. Francis Xavier

Church of St. Francis Xavier (Šv. Pranciškaus Ksavero bažnyčia) is located in the Old Town of Kaunas. The church dedicated to St. Francis Xavier was built at the Town Hall Square in the Old Town of Kaunas by Jesuits. They opened their first residence in Kaunas in 1642 and established a chapel in the House of Perkūnas in 1643. Later they also founded a first four-form school in the city in 1649. Th ...
Founded: 1759 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica

Kaunas Cathedral Basilica (Kauno Šv. apaštalų Petro ir Povilo arkikatedra bazilika) is a Roman Catholic cathedral basilica. The exact date when the first Gothic style church dedicated to apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul was built is unknown, but it was first mentioned in written sources in 1413. The first parochial school in Kaunas at the St. Peter and St. Paul church was mentioned in 1473. The construction works we ...
Founded: c. 1413 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Saint Nicholas Church

Saint Nicholas Church is mentioned in document for the first time in 1387. In 1901-39 the Church of St. Nicholas was the only church in Vilnius where the mass was held in Lithuanian. By the same token it was a centre of Lithuanian culture (its famous dean Kristupas Čibiras was killed in 1942 during a bombing raid). After the World War II, the Cathedral of Vilnius was closed and the Curia of the Archdiocese of Vilnius wa ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

St. George's Church

The church of St. George was part of the Bernardine Monastery. The first wooden church was built in 1468. It was replaced by the current brick church in the late 15th century and completed before 1503. It’s been ruined by fire three times, suffered the wrath of the Moscow army during the war of 1656-1659 and then had a bit of a rest during the 18th century before Napoleon turned it into a warehouse. During Soviet times ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

St. Peter and St. Paul's Church

St. Peter and St. Paul"s Church in Vilnius. Its interior has masterful compositions of stucco mouldings by Giovanni Pietro Perti and ornamentation by Giovanni Maria Galli of Milan, and is considered a Lithuanian Baroque masterpiece. It is believed that the first wooden church was built on this location after Jogaila"s conversion. It was rebuilt at the end of 15th century, but was destroyed by a fire in 1594. An ...
Founded: 1668-1676 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

Vytautas' the Great Church

Vytautas' the Great Church of the Assumption of The Holy Virgin Mary (Vytauto Didžiojo bažnyčia) is one of the oldest churches in Kaunas. The church was built on the north bank of the Neman River around 1400 for Franciscan monks and foreign merchants. It was ordered and funded by Vytautas the Great as a commendation to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving his life after a major defeat in the Battle of the Vorskla River. ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

St. Michael the Archangel Church

St. Michael the Archangel"s Church or the Garrison Church is a Roman Catholic church closing the perspective of the Laisvės alėja, the main pedestrian street. It was built between 1891 and 1895 when Kaunas was part of the Russian empire, in Neo-Byzantine style largely for the use of the Russian Orthodox garrison of Kaunas Fortress. The church was designed as an Orthodox cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul i ...
Founded: 1891-1895 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Church of St. Gertrude

Church of St. Gertrude (Šv. Gertrūdos bažnyčia) is one of the oldest Brick Gothic churches in Lithuania. The exact date when the church was built is unknown, but it must have been in the 15th century. In 1503 Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander designated the church as a parish church of Kaunas. In the middle of the 16th century a bell tower was attached. The church was damaged in 1655 during the Russo-Pol ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Orthodox Church of the Apparition

Built in 1903 and topped with several beautiful Neo-Byzantine cupolas, Church of the Apparition is one of the finest Russian Orthodox churches in Vilnius. Among the numerous icons hanging inside are potted plants that make the place feel really alive. Next to the icons are special prayers for each saint, but as everything in the church is written in Old Church Slavonic you’ll need a translator to help work them out. ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Vilnius, Lithuania

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary Church in Trakai, Lithuania, is a Roman Catholic church. It was originally founded by Vytautas the Great in 1409 and constructed in gothic style. Later it was significantly altered during the Baroque period, and its current appearance if mostly defined by these alterations.
Founded: 1409 | Location: Trakai, Lithuania

Pazaislis Monastery

Pažaislis monastery and church form the largest monastery complex in Lithuania, and the most magnificent example of Italian Baroque architecture in the country. Founded in 1662 by the Grand Duchy of Lithania Great Chancellor Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac for the Order of the Camaldolese Hermits, the main construction continued until 1674 and resumed in 1712. The church was designed by Pietro Puttini, Carlo and Pietro Puttini, an ...
Founded: 1662-1712 | Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Liskiava Church

Since the second half of 16th century until 1624 Liškiava church belonged to Protestants. In 1677 a wooden church was rebuilt, and in 1697 the entire town was donated to the Dominican Order. In 1699–1741 a Dominican monastery and in 1704–1720 a brick Holy Trinity church was built in the town. After the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, it was forbidden to accept new monks t ...
Founded: 1704-1720 | Location: Liškiava, Lithuania

Anyksciai Church

Anykščiai was first mentioned in written sources in 1442. The first church built before 1500 was a wooden structure. Following the construction of the Catholic Church, the town was mentioned as a city with Magdeburg rights in 1516. The church was destroyed by fire in 1566 and 1671, but quickly rebuilt. The decaying wooden structure was replaced by a brick church, built in 1765. An accompanying white four-store ...
Founded: 1899–1909 | Location: Anykščiai, Lithuania

Telsiai Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua is a seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Telšiai. The history of the church dates back to 1624 when Deputy Chancellor of Lithuania Paweł Stefan Sapieha established a Cistercian monastery and built a wooden church on the Insula hill in the centre of Telšiai. A new spacious brick church was constructed between 1762 and 1794. The tower was built in 1859. In 1893 arch ...
Founded: 1762 | Location: Telšiai, Lithuania

Tytuvenai Monastery

Tytuvėnai’s Church of Our Lady of the Angels and Bernardine monastery complex are among Lithuania’s largest and most significant specimens of 17th and 18th century sacred architecture, reflecting as they do a multi-layered harmony of the gothic, mannerist and baroque styles. The ensemble consists of a church, a courtyard with the Holy Steps Chapel, and the stone wall of a two-story monastery. The main alt ...
Founded: 1618-1633 | Location: Tytuvėnai, Lithuania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.