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


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nida Eris (6 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 (6 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
Svetlana Shevcova (6 months ago)
Externally, The Church of St. Peter and Paul does not make a strong impression, but the interior is striking in its richness and complexity. Italian craftsmen who worked on the interior of the temple decorated it with two thousand Sculptures.
澳洲Jenny Huang (2 years ago)
St. Peter Paul Church, 1408. Most churches are named after one of God's disciples, but this church is different. It uses the names of two disciples: St. Peter and St. Paul, which shows its importance. Under the steps at the entrance of the church is the body of the donor. It is said that in his last words, he asked to bury himself at the entrance of the church, so that future generations can step on him before entering the church, so as to atone for God. There is a lighting device inside the church, which can be lit by coins. The places where the lights are shining are exquisite.It's a lucky day to see three pairs of beautiful women and handsome men taking wedding photos
alen novit (2 years ago)
Not far from Vilnius city center it is located a beautiful church of St. Peter and St. Paul from 17th century A.D. ; the church lies on open space, with nothing to mention special and rather ordinary from outside, but when you walk inside, the new world will open up to you - a beatufully decorated walls and in general, beautiful to see church from inside, with, as cherry on the top offer they cream, very nice ship-shafted chandelier ; practically every corner is saying a story through beautiful decorations and it is worth to stay there more time and investigate not-to-every-day-see carved walls. The church is otherwise not spaceous, but it is on the other hand something special and extraordinary, and that is her greatness - it is just something you must see, especially if you are otherwise an art lover. You can reach the church with a bus, or just walk there if there is nice weather - it will took you cca. 15 min to get there from city center, and by the road you can check some other interesting spots which can attract your attention. Withou any doubt worth and highly recommend to visit - be sure you will not miss this pearl during your Vilnius visit time.
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