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Saint Casimir

Saint Casimir

Birth
Death 4 Mar 1484 (aged 25)
Burial Vilnius, Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius, Lithuania
Memorial ID 3980 · View Source
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Roman Catholic Saint. Casimir was born at Wawel, the royal palace in Kraków (in present-day Poland). Casimir was the third child and the second son of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV and Queen Elisabeth Habsburg of Hungary. Casimir realized from an early age that his life belonged to someone else, but to a much higher King than his father. Despite pressure, humiliation, and rejection, he stood by that loyalty through his whole life. Some of that commitment was the result of a tutor, John Dlugosz, whose holiness encouraged Casimir on his own journey. Casimir and the riches around him were temptations to forget his true loyalties. Rebelling against the rich, fashionable clothes he was expected to enjoy, he wore the plainest of clothes. Early sources do not attest to his piousness or devotion to God, but his inclination to religious life increased towards the end of his life. Later sources provide some stories of Casimir's religious life. Marcin Kromer (1512–1589) claimed that Casimir refused his physician's advise to have sexual relations with women in hopes to cure his illness. Other accounts claimed that Casimir contracted his lung disease after a particularly hard fast or that he could be found pre-dawn, kneeling by the church gates, waiting for a priest to open them. The first miracle attributed to Casimir was his appearance before the Lithuanian army during the Siege of Polotsk in 1518. Casimir showed where Lithuanian troops could safely cross the Daugava River and relieve the city, besieged by the army of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. After hearing about this miracle, Casimir's brother Sigismund I the Old petitioned the pope to canonize Casimir. His painting in Vilnius Cathedral is considered to be miraculous. The painting, probably completed around 1520, depicts the saint with two right hands. According to a legend, the painter attempted to redraw the hand in a different place and paint over the old hand, but the old hand miraculously reappeared. More conventional explanations claim that three-handed Casimir was the original intent of the painter to emphasize the exceptional generosity of Casimir ("But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Matthew 6:3) or that the old hand bled through a coat of new paint (similar to a palimpsest). Casimir's iconography usually follows the three-handed painting. He is usually depicted as a young man in long red robe lined with stoat fur. Sometimes he wears a red cap of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but other times, to emphasize his devotion to spiritual life, the cap is placed near Casimir. Usually he holds a lily, a symbol of virginity, innocence, and purity. He might also hold a cross, a rosary, or a book with words from Omni die dic Mariae (Daily, Daily Sing to Mary). The towns of Kvėdarna and Nemunaitis in Lithuania have Saint Casimir depicted on their coat of arms. He was canonized by Pope Clement VIII in 1602 and is the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Nov 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3980
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Casimir (3 Oct 1458–4 Mar 1484), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3980, citing Saint Casimir's Chapel, Vilnius Cathedral, Vilnius, Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius, Lithuania ; Maintained by Find A Grave .