Casimir (saint)

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Saint Casimir of Lithuania
Sculpture of Saint Casimir

Saint Casimir of Lithuania (Lithuanian Šventasis Kazimieras , Polish Święty Kazimierz ) (born October 3, 1458 in Krakow , Poland ; †  March 4, 1484 in Grodno , then Grand Duchy of Lithuania ) was the second son of the Polish King Casimir IV (1427– 1492) and his wife Elisabeth von Habsburg (1437–1505).


The young Casimir was already widely admired at the royal court in Krakow as extraordinarily intelligent and at the same time humble and merciful. At the age of 13, his father sent him to Hungary with a military troop, where he was supposed to fight for the Hungarian royal crown against Matthias Corvinus . Returning from this unsuccessful campaign, he moved first in the line of succession after his older brother Wladislaw was proclaimed King of Bohemia in 1472. His father built him up to succeed him as the Polish king. 1481–83 Casimir represented his father in Krakow for two years when the latter was in Lithuania . Through his economical style of government, his actions against robbery and against corrupt court officials, he gained the reputation of large sections of the population, who were particularly impressed by his modest lifestyle and his mercy towards the poor. Because of this strictly Christian way of life, an attempt by his father to find him with the daughter of Frederick III failed . to marry because Casimir had taken a vow of chastity. Due to his ascetic way of life, he was physically weak and fell ill with tuberculosis . In 1483 he followed his father to Lithuania and took over the chancellorship there, while Casimir IV returned to Poland. He died on March 4, 1484 at the age of only 25 in Grodno.

Grave and canonization

When he was laid out in Vilnius Cathedral , numerous residents of the city came to bid him farewell. So he was not buried under the church, but in a chapel of the church and his grave became a place of pilgrimage. A good 30 years after his death, Pope Leo X initiated the process of canonization, and in 1521 the commissioned papal nuncio Zacharias Ferreri completed his report Vita Beati Casimiri ( The Life of Blessed Casimir ). He praised his compassion, sacrifice and chaste lifestyle. His canonization, which was initiated by Leo X before his death in 1521, only came to the public more than 80 years later and was finally confirmed by a bull from Pope Clement VIII in 1602. In May 1604, great celebrations for his canonization were held in Vilnius. When his coffin was opened, an undamaged corpse was allegedly found, and under the right temple a note with the Marian hymn Omni die dic Mariae , which has been his work ever since.

In 1636 the construction of a separate burial chapel was completed, which was attached to the nave of the cathedral. Since then the body of St. Casimir has been laid out in a silver coffin on an altar. Numerous miracles are attributed to his portrait hanging over the coffin. The Jesuits in particular , who had been active in Lithuania since 1569, contributed to the spread of the cult of saints. Many churches in Lithuania bear his name, first and foremost the St. Casimir Church in Vilnius , which was built by the Jesuits . After the Second World War , the Soviets closed the cathedral and so the relics were transferred to the Peter and Paul Church in Vilnius in 1949 . During the period of perestroika , they could be brought back to their traditional chapel on March 4th, 1989.

St. Casimir as the patron saint of the parish of the same name, in Kollam , Kerala , India

Remembrance day

Casimir was named patron saint of Lithuania by Pope Urban VIII in the early 17th century . On June 11, 1948 he was appointed by Pope Pius XII. appointed patron saint of youth. He is one of the very few noble saints. He is also revered as the patron of chastity.

Since the 17th century, large annual markets (lit. Kaziuko mugė ) have taken place all over Lithuania on the last weekend before March 4th .


See also

Web links

Commons : Casimir of Poland  - collection of images, videos and audio files