Travel

Secret pearls: Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius

When the usual tourist routes have already been studied, it’s time to pay attention to the buildings which are unremarkable on the outside, but completely unique inside. You can easily find them in the capitals and in the small towns as well in our country and the nearby ones. One of such masterpieces of architecture, which is quite inconspicuous outside, is St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church.

The place chosen for its construction has an amazing history. Once, according to legend, the sanctuary of Mildu, the goddess of the pagans, was located there. Later, during the reign of Jogaila and by his decree, there was founded a wooden church, which had almost been destroyed during the fire in 1594. Another building had been constructed lately; however, it hadn’t stayed for a long time and had been destroyed during the wars. At the end of the 18th century, the Great Lithuanian Hetman and Voivode of Vilnius Michał Kazimierz Pac commissioned the construction of the new church because of the promise that he had given after Vilna’s emancipation. However, he hadn’t seen the end of the construction. Pac died in 1682. According to his last will, he must have been buried beneath the doorstep of the main entrance of the Church with the inscription «Here lies a sinner» on his tombstone. After a hundred of years, the tombstone had been hit and fractured in two pieces by the lightning stroke.

In spite of difficult formation, the church took the special place not only in the hearts of residents of Vilnius but also in the hearts of tourists. Anyone who crosses the threshold finds himself in a world of amazing combinations of stucco details created by Perth Pietro and Giovanni Maria Galli. The Italian masters from Milan and Rome were engaged in interior decoration and embodied with the artificial marble the characters from the New Testament, Lithuanian heroes and other figure compositions, the quantity of which is more than two thousand.

Sources:

1. http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/ru/posetite/places-to-visit/kostioly/church-of-st-peter-and-st-paul/

2. Medonis А. Vilnius. A Pocket-book for Tourists, Vilnius, Mintis., 1965. p. 74—76.