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

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ra Mie (2 years ago)
A Great church to visit. According the architects it's the most beautiful Catholic church in the world.
issa malki (2 years ago)
Amazing church must see it if u are in Vilnius
Anonymous Girl (2 years ago)
This church in Vilnius is unique in it's own ways, that is a fact. The beautiful roof gives you the feeling of stepping into a the 1600s Renaissance, and the amazing vicars hold jaw-dropping ceremonies certain to make you think. The whole tour that I went through there stretched my mind; we learnt many amazing things about this historic building. Did you know that this building has been here for more than a decade? I certainly couldn't believe it. The garden was fantastic, the addition of plants and flowers is a truly great idea. For these reasons I am rating this place five stars!
Christin David (2 years ago)
There are many Christian churches in Vilnius, but this is a truly beautiful one with impressive interior design. There is an immense number of frescos mostly held in white stone which gives this place its religious gravity.
Bjarte Almklow (2 years ago)
Beautiful church. The work they put in to this building and many of the other churches in Vilnius is astounding. I have no idea how they could build all this in one place without sparking a religious war, but I aim to find out
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