St. Peter and St. Paul's Church

Vilnius, Lithuania

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. Another wooden church was built between 1609–1616, but it also was destroyed during the wars with Russia in 1655–1661.

The construction of the new church was paid for by the Great Lithuanian Hetman Michał Kazimierz Pac in celebration of the victory against the Russians and the suppression of Lubomirski's Rokosz. A large Turkish war drum (timpano) is on display in the church. It was seized from the Ottomans in the Battle of Khotyn of 11 November 1673, won by the Commonwealth forces, and granted to the church by Michał Kazimierz Pac.

The construction works of the present church started in 1668 under the supervision of Jan Zaor from Kraków and finished in 1676 by Giambattista Frediani. The decoration works were unfortunately terminated in 1684 due to the founder's death in 1682, which prevented creating the main altar according to the original design. The decoration works were finally completed only in 1704.

The main altar, smaller than planned, was built in the beginning of 19th century by Giovanni Beretti and Nicolae Piano from Milan. It is dominated by the Farewell of St. Peter and St. Paul, a large drawing by Franciszek Smuglewicz, installed there in 1805.

St. Peter and St. Paul's Church is a basilica built on a traditional cross plan with a lantern dome allowing extra light into its white interior. The freestanding columns of the main facade were used for the first time in Lithuanian ecclesiastical architecture. The inscription surrounding the base of the dome is the same as that of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The church is decorated with over 2000 religious depictions. The frescos are attributed to Johann Gotthard Berchhoff. The female heads opposite the St. Augustine Chapel represent two sister nations: Poland and Lithuania.

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Details

Founded: 1668-1676
Category: Religious sites in Lithuania

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sin Fong Chan (8 months ago)
Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Vilnius Visited on 1/10/2019 The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul is a Roman Catholic church. It is the centrepiece of a former monastery complex. The main altar is dominated by a large painting the Farewell of St. Peter and St. Paul. There is one of two large Turkish war drums (timpano, 140 cm (55 in) in circumference) that were seized from the Ottomans in the Battle of Khotyn of 11 November 1673 and granted to the church by its founder.
Ivan Januskevic (10 months ago)
Absolutely, mind-blowingly incredibly beautiful church. The inside is stunning!
Pawel Napiwodzki (12 months ago)
The good place. Very nice
Nida Eris (13 months ago)
One of the most stunning cathedrals I have ever went to. 1. Small but meaningful details on the walls, ceiling and pillars. All beautiful looking. 2. Church is still in use for praying, mass and weddings.
Tor Arne waagan (13 months ago)
English: am not a man that have a ny religious viwes. But this place of god is amazing. So many architectural things to see. In every corner ther is somthing new and unick. If you are nearby. You chud realy go. And when I was here I cud go down to the basement and look at cofins of monks and nuns. A bit creepy but well worth it
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