Peterskirche (Vienna)

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Peterskirche, seen from the Graben

The Rectorate Church of St. Peter is a Roman Catholic church in Vienna's 1st  district, Inner City . The current church building was completed and consecrated in 1733. In 1970 the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal König, entrusted the pastoral care of St. Peter's Church to priests of Opus Dei .

The first St. Peter's Church

Detail from Jacob Hoefnagel's Viennese bird's
eye view from 1609: The Graben, the first St. Peter's Church at the bottom right.

The first St. Peter's Church, of which there are no visible remains today, dates back to late antiquity and was therefore the oldest church and parish in the city of Vienna. In the second half it was the 4th century by a barracks of the Roman camp Vindobona an aisled hall church basilican was converted Art. Further renovations followed, the building was later Gothicized , whereby the nave was divided into three unequal aisles. The tower was rectangular and three storeys high , at the corners there were fial towers , which were surmounted by a central, higher tower with a cross. What the interior of this church looked like is unknown. Only stones from the late Gothic St. Valentine's Chapel , which was added in 1399 , have been preserved, which are dated 1510/15. The church was surrounded by shops and in an annex was the "Stadtguardia", the forerunner of the modern police force.

The church itself is said to have been founded by Emperor Charlemagne around 792, but this has not been proven. A church of St. Peter in Vienna is mentioned for the first time in 1137 (as part of the prehistory for the construction of St. Stephen's Church , to which St. Peter's parish rights should also be transferred). Towards the end of the 12th century the church fell to the Schottenstift . In 1661 the building burned down and was only poorly repaired. The decision to build a new church was not taken until 1676 with the relocation of the Arch Brotherhood of the Most Holy Trinity .

The new Building

Church floor plan

The new building began around 1701 on the initiative of Emperor Leopold I. The old St. Peter's Church, which was probably already quite dilapidated, was demolished along with the surrounding cemetery. The planning and start of construction (foundations) of the new St. Peter's Church took place under Gabriele Montani . From 1703 Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt continued the construction according to a changed plan and in 1708 the shell was completed. His site manager was Franz Jänggl, and master builder Francesco Martinelli is also documented. The stonemason job was the Viennese master Johann Carl Trumler passed the required hard Kaiserstein , including for the revolving base, from the imperial quarry requested.

The construction work continued until 1722, at which point the construction was largely complete. The new church was the first domed structure of baroque Vienna. The sacred building has a very compact shape, an oval interior with an astonishing amount of space and rectangular extensions. The dome room was mainly designed by Matthias Steinl . The frescoes equipment had Andrea Pozzo started its Ausmalungen you, so in 1713 after his death removed Johann Michael Rottmayr could start with a completely new program. The high altar is by Antonio Galli da Bibiena (construction) and Martino Altomonte (altarpiece). Over the years, the painting has become darker, which gave the interior a gloomy appearance.


Joachim Georg Schwandtner, Superintendent of the Arch Brotherhood of the Most Holy Trinity , donated a portal porch , which was added from Gutenstein marble from 1751–1753 according to plans by Andrea Altomonte . Master Johann Michael Strickner from Kaisersteinbruch delivered other stone carvings, such as the step stones .

The church was renovated from 1998 to 2004, which also brought back the colors and brightness of the painting.


St. Peter's Church is located on St. Peter's Square, right next to the moat , shortly after (west) the plague column . There the Habsburgergasse cuts through the pedestrian zone (then Jungferngasse) and leads directly to the church. Peterskirche almost disappears between the tall buildings, and you can only see it when you stand in front of it.


Altar, baptismal font, pulpit and more

Interior view with a view towards the high altar

The altar in the apse consists of an altar table with a predella, which is adorned with an image of the church patron, Saint Peter . In the apse there is a mural several meters high showing scenes from the Bible. On the right and left of the altar table are small white marble figures. The round pulpit is probably made of soapstone, with gold-plated reliefs and putti attached. There is a gilded crucifixion group on the sound cover . The baptismal font, also round but on an octagonal base, consists of gray and white marbled stone and has a decorated copper lid . The pews are still from the baroque furnishings. They have elaborately carved side panels on which putti are grouped. Side altars have been added to the side aisles.


View of the gallery and organ case

Today's organ was built in 1903 by the organ builder Franz Josef Swoboda , the organ case dates from 1751. The tilting valve shutter instrument has 34  registers on three manuals and a pedal . The playing and stop actions are pneumatic.

I Hauptwerk C – g 3
Principal 16 ′
Bourdon 16 ′
Principal 8th'
Gamba 8th'
Flute harmonique 8th'
Octave 4 ′
flute 4 ′
Super octave 2 ′
Cornett 5 13
mixture 2 23
Trumpet 8th'
II. Manuals C – g 3
Covered 8th'
Salicional 8th'
Prefix 4 ′
flute 4 ′
Fifth 2 23
Octave 2 ′
Progress harmonique 2 23
Basson oboe 8th'
III Swell C – g 3
Philomela 8th'
Aeoline 8th'
Angel voice 8th'
Principal 4 ′
Gemshorn 2 ′
Vox humana 8th'
Pedals C – f 1
Contrabass 32 ′
Principal bass 16 ′
Violon bass 16 ′
Sub bass 16 ′
Quintbass 10 23
Octave bass 8th'
Cello bass 8th'
soprano 4 ′
trombone 16 ′
  • Coupling : II / I, III / I, III / II, I / P, II / P, III / P, various sub and super octave couplings
  • Playing aids: free combinations, fixed combinations (pp, p, mf, f, pleno), register crescendo


Web links

Commons : Peterskirche (Vienna)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Peterskirche Vienna
  2. Building history on the homepage of the Peterskirche, accessed on December 18, 2015
  3. ^ Ferdinand Opll: The Vienna Stephanskirche before its first mention. In: Studies on Viennese History. Yearbook of the Association for the History of the City of Vienna JbVGStW 75, year 2019. ISSN  1027-8788 pp. 153–179.
  4. ^ Martinelli Francesco (Franz). In: Felix Czeike : Historisches Lexikon Wien . Volume 4, 1995, ISBN 3-218-00546-9 .
  5. Robert Seemann , Herbert Summesberger: Wiener stone walking paths, the geology of the big city. Peterskirche. Verlag Christian Brandstätter, 1999, ISBN 3-85447-787-2 , pp. 69-70.
  6. More information on the organ: OrganIndex

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 33.8 "  N , 16 ° 22 ′ 12.3"  E