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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Founded: 1668-1676
Category: Religious sites in Lithuania

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Salim Ece (19 days ago)
It is by far the most stunning interior design for a church in whole Vilnius. After the building was completed it took 30 more years of work to design and complete the interior. It is full of stone carvings and statues with marvellous depictions from the bible and many other details. Must visit!
Audrius Barkauskas (23 days ago)
Nice location, great view.
Keith Bauman (2 months ago)
Very ornate impressive 17th century Baroque Roman catholic church.
Astie Bolton (5 months ago)
A good walk up from the city centre but a very impressive interior. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the city. Free to enter
Pablo PĂ©rez (5 months ago)
Hugely recommended. It's a little off the tourist path, like a 30 minute walk from Cathedral Square, but it's really a must. You have trolleybuses that take you here if you want. Outside it has a nice facade, but it's the interior that's amazing. White carved and full of details. Much better than other churches here, it's a must. Also, it's free, obviously.
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