St. Peter and St. Paul's Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the Antakalnis neighbourhood of Vilnius (about 20 minutes walk from the Old Town).
The present church is from late 17th century and is considered a Lithuanian Baroque masterpiece. I also think the church is quite beautiful, especially inside. It is very white and bright (like the cathedral) and decorated with many frescoes, sculptures, and other religious decorations.
We visited this Church mid morning and had to wait 5 minutes for the service to finish before we could enter. The outside of the Church was old, the grounds anything but special and I wondered why we had stopped to view this church.
Once inside, the answer was obvious, a extremely beautiful baroque church containing 6 chapels. The walls adorned with over 2,000 stucco mouldings of biblical and historical scenes.
The decoration of this Church is outstanding.
Everything is in excellent condition and this would be amongst the best churches we visited during our 9 week holiday.
Maybe it is not very beautiful church outside, but you can to see all fascinating things inside it. Allegedly built on the cult site of the Lithuanian pagan goddess of love, Milda. St Peter and Paul’s was commissioned in 1668. Despite a plain façade, the baroque interior is breathtakingly beautiful. Over 2000 stuccoed figures crowd the vaults, representing mythological, biblical and battle scenes.
This is a church that we saw first thing on our second short visit to Vilnius. The guidebook says it is 4 km out of town but in fact it's only about 1 - 2 km from the Lower Castle and along the same street.
We visited it on a Sunday and a Polish Mass was being celebrated when we came in. When I took the first picture a man standing behind me protested but when I explained to him I needed the pictures for the internet and had no time to wait till the end, he let me take a few. I think it was my Polish that did it or perhaps he could hear the despair in my voice.:) Whichever it was, thanks so much for the permission. But I had to be discreet so took only pictures away from the main altar not to disturb the priest.
The church was founded by Hetman M.K. Pac (in Lithuanian Pacas) on the site of an old wooden church which had burnt down during the Muscovite invasion on Vilnius in 1655-61. After the war, Lithuanian soldiers, enraged by receiving no pay, started to take it out on their commanders and murder them. One of their victims was Kazimierz Chwalibog-Zeromski, the commander in the recent courageous defence of the castles of Vilnius, who was cruelly murdered by his soldiers at St Theresa's Church. The Hetman himself had to look for shelter in the ruins of St Peter and St Paul's Church. It was then that he vowed to build a new church on this site if he was spared his friends' fate.
The new church was magnificent. Pac employed the best Italian and local architects and artists and the results exceeded expectations. Yet the founder did not live to see his church complete - he died in 1682, having first ordered his body to be buried under the threshold of the new church with the inscription on top 'Hic iace peccator' (Here lies a sinner).
The exterior of the church is not too ornate but the interior, in which white predominates, is simply stunning: the white stucco sculptures, relief work and decorative panels cover all the surfaces. Altogether there are about 2000 pieces of sculpture, depicting scenes from the New Testament, the lives of the saints and Lithuanian history. The chandelier made in crystal and brass was the gift of Venice for the consecration of the church. On one of the walls outside you can see a painting on wood featuring the plague raging in Vilnius in 1710.
When you visit the church, have a close look at the sculptures and you will find some surprises as the sculptors seem to be playing games with the audience. For instance, one of the statues seems to be crying when you look at her from one side and smiling when viewed from the other side. The statue of Christ is fixed to the wall only by one foot, and so on. We couldn't go round the church during Mass so we are sure to go back there to see more.
For a few more pictures, see the travelogue.
St. Peter and St. Paul's Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Antakalnis neighbourhood of the city. Its interior, with masterful compositions of stucco mouldings by Giovanni Pietro Perti and ornamentation by Giovanni Maria Galli of Milan, is considered a Lithuanian Baroque masterpiece.
The church is a basilica built on traditional cross plan with a lantern dome pouring extra light to its white interior. The freestanding colums in the main facade were used for the first time in the Lithuanian ecclesiastical architecture.
If you have only limited time for Vilnius then you should definitely make sure that you visit the baroque style St. Peter and Paul's Church (Sv. Petro ir Povilo Baznycia).
VT member Raimix recommended it to us. Although the facade looks a bit plain, the interior is absolutely breathtaking. It includes more than 2000 stuccoed figures from miscellaneous biblical, mythological and grotesque scenes.
The church was founded in 1668 and it took about 30 years to finish the interior decorations which were carried out by two Italian sculptors.
The St. Peter and Paul's Church can be found at a busy road junction in the Antakalnis district which is situated about 20 mins on foot northeast of the city centre.
St. Peter and Paul's Church, Antakalnio gatve 1, Vilnius
St. Peter and Paul's church is not located in the Old Town, but about 1km away from it. Nevertheless, it's worth the walk as it has the most impressive interior I've ever seen (apart from San Marco in Venice). Every part of the inside is decorated with stucco motives - people, flowers, ornaments, animals, you name it. It's such an impressive look up on the ceiling so that you'll hardly be able to look down again!
In my opinion the most beautiful church in Vilnius!
A wooden church, destroyed during the 1655 - 1661 War with Moscow, stood in this location since the christening of Lithuania. Hetman rebuilt during 1667 - 1676. The building seems quite severe and restrained from outside. It is in the form of a Latin cross with the dome and two short towers. The fasade is two tiered with columns and a balcony. The church has a unique old picture portraying the plague in Vilnius (1710). This canvas was restored at the beginning of the 19th century.
The fence surrounding the churchyard and four chapels were built in the second half of the 17th century. The square in front of the church is named John Paul II Square, in memory of the Pope's visit to Vilnius.
The most valuable asset is the church's interior, in which white predominates. White stucco mouldings: sculptures, relief work, and panels cover all the walls of the church as well as the vault, the dome, and the chapels. The human figures and faces are reckoned at approximately 2000 pieces. The human figures are grouped into separate scenes where parts of the New Testament, the lives of the saints and Lithuanian history are portrayed. The sculptured interior décor has undergone almost no changes since the beginning of its creation and has survived until the present day.
This very beautiful church represents a brilliant example of the Baroque, and is worth a visit.
There are over two thousand plaster sculptures covering the walls and ceiling of this church, all with symbolism, and all faces different. These sculptures represent religious and mythological scenes, as well as battles.
The amount of time one could spend here is daunting. The church has so much artwork to gaze at! Michael Casimir Pac, Grand Hetman of the Lithuanian armies commissioned this work, and apparently, he hid his name in various Latin blessings and prayers carved into the church's decorations.
This is Baroque as I had never seen it before. There are over two thousand plaster sculptures covering the walls and ceiling of this church, all with symbolism, and all faces different. They represent religious and mythological scenes, as well as battles. It was commissioned by Pacas in the 17th century, and two Italian artists were the lucky recipients of this project.
Church of St. Peter and Paul was commissioned in 1668 by Michael Casimir Pac, Grand Hetman of the Lithuanian armies. His tombstone is embedded in the wall to the right of the entrance (Pac died in 1682, before the church was fully completed).
Despite a rather plain facade, the Baroque interior is beautiful. Over 2000 stuccoed figures crowd the vaults, representing miscellaneous mythological, biblical and battle scenes.
From the station you take trollybus number 2, it will drop you at a roundabout next to the cathedral. It is amazing, so many statues telling so many stories
St. Peter and St. Paul's is a Roman Catholic Church with baroque style architecture. The interior is fantastic to see and it is famous for stucco moldings compositions.
Inside is beautiful, you can't imagine if you see just outside.
According to a legend , it was erected as a Pagan temple at 15th.cc.