St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church is an architectural masterpiece and Roman Catholic church in Vilnius. The treasured church is renowned for its striking late Baroque interior decorated with intricate stucco moldings. Visit this former centerpiece of a monastery complex to appreciate its masterful architecture and approximately 2,000 stucco figurines.
Climb the small hill rising up from the River Neris and admire the stunning church standing solitarily behind a high brick wall. Note the 17th-century church’s elegant cream-colored façade and basilica-style design. A dome rises up from the church’s central pediment, which is flanked by two ornate red-topped towers.
Learn the legend of the building’s inspiration. St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church is located on a site once used to worship the pagan goddess of love, Milda. The Grand Hetman of the Lithuanian armies commissioned the late-Baroque church in 1668 after the armies’ victory over the Russians. According to legend, the Grand Hetman was stirred to finance the new church after he hid from mutinous soldiers in the ruins of the former monastery.
Enter the church via its grand main entrance and check out the intricately sculpted ornamentations and crest adorning the doorway. Inside, you’ll find a breathtaking light-filled nave with a ceiling that appears to vibrate with complex stucco ornaments and representations of religious and mythological scenes. Painted almost entirely in white, the sculpted stucco figurines are the church’s hidden treasure. Look for them spread throughout the choir, transept and apse. Among the sculptures, you might see angels, soldiers, dragons, centaurs and sunflowers, as well as representations of St. Christopher, the baby Jesus, the grim reaper and the scene of the Last Judgement.
St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church is located northeast of Vilnius’ Old Town, about a 20-minute walk from Cathedral Square. Visit the church daily for free and listen to regular services in Lithuanian and Polish.