The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
is the most exquisite example of the late baroque architecture
On the place where the present church
is situated there was a sanctuary of the pagan goddess of
love Milda. After the christening of Lithuania a wooden church
was constructed there. It was destroyed during the war with
Moscow in 1655-1661. The construction of the new church started
in1668 in honor of the city's liberation from Russians and
the lucky escape of the Grand Hetman Michael Casimir Pac from
the hands of rebellious soldiers. Construction was financed
by two cousins, Grand Chancellor of Lithuania Kristupas Pacas
and Grand Hetman of Lithuania Mykolas Pacas. The talented
architects Jan Zaor, Gianbattista Frediani and others supervised
the work. The unique interior Baroque decor was created by
the Italian masters Giovanni Pietro Perti and Giovanni Maria
From the outside the Church looks
rather austere. It has the form of a Latin cross with the
cupola and two small towers. Two-tiered facade is decorated
with columns and a balcony.
Although the church is rather plain
from the facade, its baroque interior amazes the visitors
by the breathtaking splendor. The walls are crowded with over
two thousand stucco mouldings of biblical, historical, allegorical
and mythological figures, fantastic and demonic beings, plants
and animals. At this "world theater" God looks from
the cupola. 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 church altar of the 20th century is famous for a wooden
sculpture of the Jesus of Antakalnis with a wig of natural
hair, believed to have miracle-working power. It was brought
here from Rome in 1700.
The church boasts the extraordinary
chandelier made from brass and glass beads and fashioned in
the shape of a ship, made in Latvia in 1905.
Michael Casimir Pac had ordered to bury him under the threshold
of the church and inscribe "Hic iacet peccator"
("A sinner rests here") on the tombstone. But at
the end of the 17th century his tombstone was split up by
lightning, therefore a plaque with the inscription was embedded
in the wall to the right of the entry.
The square in front of the church
is named after John Paul II in memory of the pope's visit
Address: Antakalnio St., 1