Jump to content

St. Pierre Cathedral

Coordinates: 46°12′4″N 6°8′55″E / 46.20111°N 6.14861°E / 46.20111; 6.14861
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Pierre Cathedral of Geneva
The Cathedral Church of St Peter
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Genève
St. Pierre Cathedral
Saint Pierre Cathedral of Geneva is located in Switzerland
Saint Pierre Cathedral of Geneva
Saint Pierre Cathedral of Geneva
Location of St. Pierre Cathedral in Switzerland
46°12′4″N 6°8′55″E / 46.20111°N 6.14861°E / 46.20111; 6.14861
DenominationProtestant Church of Geneva
Previous denominationRoman Catholic
WebsiteSt. Pierre Cathedral
StatusParish church
Founded4th century
DedicationPeter the Apostle
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationSwiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Significance
The nave of St. Pierre Cathedral

Saint Pierre Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland is the principal church of the Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva. Previously it was a Roman Catholic cathedral, having been converted in 1535. It is known as the adopted home church of John Calvin, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church is a wooden chair used by Calvin.



Below the cathedral is a modern, well-interpreted, and accessible archaeological site that includes a 1st-century BC tomb of an ancient Allobrogian chieftain.[1] An oppidum erected on the hill of Saint-Pierre allowed them to control the inland navigation on the Rhône.[2] In the 4th century CE, Geneva became the seat of a bishopric. A first Christian edifice was built on the hill (between 350 and 375), on the ruins of the Roman sanctuary. This “northern cathedral” and a first baptistry were soon complemented by a southern cathedral, a second baptistry and an atrium.

After a fire struck the north cathedral in the year 500, King Sigismund of Burgundy rebuilt it and asked Pope Symmachus to bring him the relics of St Peter , the present building was begun under Arducius de Faucigny, the prince-bishop of the Diocese of Geneva, around 1160,[3] in Gothic style. The interior of the cathedral is lined with fourth-century mosaics. The German painter Konrad Witz painted an altarpiece, the so-called St. Peter Altarpiece, for the cathedral in 1444, now in the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, which contains his composition, the Miraculous Draught of Fishes.[citation needed]

At the time of the Reformation, the interior of the large, cruciform, late-gothic church was stripped of its rood screen, side chapels, and all decorative works of art, except the stained glass, leaving a vast, plain interior that contrasts sharply with the interior of surviving medieval churches that remain Roman Catholic. A Neo-Classical main façade was added in the 18th century.[3] In the 1890s, Genevans redecorated a large, side chapel adjacent to the cathedral's man doors in a polychrome, gothic revival style.

Theodore Beza, French Calvinist Protestant theologian, reformer and scholar, and successor to John Calvin, was buried at St. Pierre in 1605.

Present day


Currently, every summer a German Protestant minister is present, making it possible to hold bilingual services and meetings of both German and French Protestant worshippers. [citation needed]

On Whit Saturday, 30 May 2020, after nearly 485 years[4] a Catholic Mass was to be celebrated in the cathedral as a symbol of ecumenical hospitality.[5] Because of COVID-19, the Catholic Mass was postponed and was celebrated on Saturday, 5 March 2022.

On certain nights of the full moon, the cathedral sponsors "The Nocturnes de St-Pierre", an opportunity to access the towers for a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside by moonlight.[6]


Strike tone
1 La Clémence 1902 H. Rüetschi, Aarau 2190 6238 g0 North
2 L'Accord 1845 S. Treboux, Vevey 1560 2080 c1 South
3 La Bellerive 1473 Nicolas Guerci 1400 1500 e1 North
4 La Collavine 1609 1140 1012 g1 South
5 L'Espérance 2002 H. Rüetschi, Aarau 930 475 a1 South
6 L'Eveil 1845 S. Treboux, Vevey 750 261 c2 South
7 Le Rappel 15th century 590 133 e2 South
I La Cloche des Heures 1460 1290 1610 e1 Spire
II Le Tocsin 1509 760 270 cis2 South

See also



  1. ^ Blair, Hazel. "St Pierre Cathedral", World Archaeology, Issue 83, May 25, 2017
  2. ^ Kruta, Venceslas (2000). Les Celtes, histoire et dictionnaire : des origines à la romanisation et au christianisme. Robert Laffont. p. 636. ISBN 2-221-05690-6.
  3. ^ a b "Saint-Pierre Cathedral", Ville de Genève
  4. ^ After the temporary suspension of the Mass by a city council decision on August 10, 1535, no Catholic Mass had taken place. (Publication de L'Association pour la Restauration de Saint-Pierre, Saint-Pierre Ancienne Cathédrale de Genève, Geneva, 1982, p. 67)
  5. ^ Catholic Mass in Cathedral of the Reformed (in German), Deutschlandfunk, 31 May 2020.
  6. ^ "The Nocturnes de St-Pierre", Cathedrale Saint-Pierre Geneve

Further reading