Foundation of the Keys of St Peter


Founded on 23 May 1973 and in accordance with its primary goal, the Foundation of the Keys of St Peter set about the task, almost a century after the restoration in the 1890s, of restoring this sanctuary in full, from the foundations (micro-piles) to the spire, from north to south, from the forecourt to the choir, not forgetting the Chapel of the Maccabees, and, above all, the enormous surprise about which nothing was known when the work began: the opening of the archaeological site to the public, on 16 May 1986.

To maintain and permanently conserve St Peter’s Cathedral so that it might never again be necessary to undertake such major restoration work as occurred in the past; that was the second objective of the Foundation of the Keys of St Peter.

Here are a few details about the Foundation’s aims:

  • To have a foundation council, responsible, year after year, for directing the restoration work in the capacity of master of works, then painstakingly monitoring the conservation of the building
  • To ensure, within this council, that the Protestant Church of Geneva (as the owner), the Parish of Saint-Pierre Fusterie (as the primary user of the sanctuary), the State of Geneva and the City of Geneva are all represented on this council.
  • To earn the trust of the aforementioned public authorities and of the Swiss Confederation, which have made big contributions to the financing of all the restoration works and to whom we are grateful to be able to rely on even today, as we go about our duties as regards the maintenance of St Peter’s Cathedral.
  • To organise, whether at the instigation of several people or a special committee, the famous ‘kermesses des Clefs de St-Pierre’ (‘fête of the Keys of St Peter’), which, in 1976, 1982 and 1989, both during the preparatory months and on public holidays, brought together around the Cathedral all those for whom this monument represents something important.
  • To establish, then maintain for the Foundation of the Keys of St Peter, an entire network of people and institutions that, whether small or large, private or public, from Geneva or elsewhere, will constantly give it their moral and financial support.

The foundation’s main priority today is still the restoration and conservation of St Peter’s Cathedral, of the Chapel of the Maccabees, the towers and the spire, and the upkeep of the archaeological site. We need the help and support of everyone in order to complete all of the works undertaken.