How many churches are there in the Vatican?

The Vatican City is mostly known for Saint Peter’s Basilica, though that’s not the only church present in the city-state. How many churches are there in the Vatican? Let’s find out! Here’s an overview of the existing churches in the Vatican. We’ll focus only on churches, though, of course, there are also smaller shrines and chapels scattered throughout the place.


Santi Martino e Sebastiano degli Svizzeri

The first of the churches we’ll mention is the Church of Saints Martin and Sebastian of the Swiss. It’s a church built in 1568 to act as the National Church of Switzerland in Rome. It’s located along the path that the Swiss Guards take every day and they have all-day access to it. As for the saints, St Martin was a Roman officer-turned-monk while St Sebastian was a martyr, once serving as the protector of Roman Emperors.


Sant’Anna dei Palafrenieri

The Church of Saint Anne in the Vatican is a Vatican temple used for the needs of the Roman Curia staff and pilgrims visiting the Vatican. It was commissioned by Pope Pius IV (in 1565) and fully finished in 1775. It’s located right on the eastern border of the Vatican.


Chiesa di Sant’Egidio a Borgo

The next church in the Vatican is located in a place where ordinary visitors cannot enter without a special pass. The small church has been used for years by the Fransiscan Missionaries of Mary (who received it from Pope Pius XI in 1926).


Chiesa di San Pellegrino

The Church of Saint Peregrine is one of the oldest churches in Rome, dating back to the reign of Pope Leo III. It’s dedicated to Saint Peregrine of Auxerre, a Roman martyr of the third century. The church has been rebuilt throughout the centuries, though it did originally stand in the same spot in the eighth century AD. The church was originally intended for pilgrims, though now it serves the Pontifical Gendarmerie and the firefighters of the Vatican.


Santo Stefano degli Abissini

Saint Stephen of the Abyssinians is the National Church of Ethiopia. It’s a tiny Coptic temple dating back to Pope Leo I (5th century AD). Though much of the façade of the building is from the 18th century, much older fragments of older temples can still be seen as well. It’s the oldest surviving structure in the Vatican. The church can be visited by ordinary tourists and pilgrims.


St Peter’s Basilica

Of course, we have to save the main star for last. The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican is one of the four largest major basilicas in Rome, built on the site of burial of St Peter (whose tomb is located right under the main altar). It’s commonly regarded as one of the most important temples in the world and is practically what you come to the Vatican for.

There was also one more church in the Vatican, the Santo Stefano degli Ungheresi, the church of the Hungarians in Rome. This one was effectively demolished in 1778 by Pope Pius VI to make space for an additional section of St Peter’s Basilica. The Pope built a new chapel for St Stephen of Hungary in Santo Stefano Rotondo to try to make up for it. You can also find seven columns of the old Santo Stefano degli Ungheresi in the newer sacristy of St Peter’s Basilica.


See also:

Leave a comment