Saint Casimir : biography
Saint Casimir Jagiellon ( ; October 3, 1458 – March 4, 1484) was a crown prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who became a patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young. His feast day, the Saint Casimir's Day, is marked annually with Kaziuko mugė (a trade fair) held on the Sunday nearest to March 4, the anniversary of his death, in Vilnius.
Lithuanian folk sculpture of Saint Casimir]]
Surviving contemporary accounts described Prince Casimir as a young man of exceptional intellect and education, humility and politeness, striving for justice and fairness.Duczmal (2012), pp. 309–310 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.Duczmal (2012), p. 310 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.
Saint Casimir's 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). Around 1636 the painting was covered in gilded silver clothing (riza).
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 Adrian VI in 1602 and is the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania. - Catholic Online article On June 11, 1948, Pope Pius XII named Saint Casimir the special patron of all youth.
Early life and education
A member of the Jagiellon dynasty, Casimir was born at Wawel, the royal palace in Kraków (in present-day Poland). - Catholic Encyclopedia article 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. Elisabeth was a loving mother and took active interest in her children's upbringing.Duczmal (2012), p. 302 The Queen and the children often accompanied the King in his annual trips to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
From the age of nine, Casimir and his brother Vladislaus II were educated by the Polish priest Jan Długosz. The boys were taught Latin and German, law, history, rhetoric, and classical literature. Długosz was a strict and conservative teacher who emphasized ethics, morality, and religious devotion. According to Stanisław Orzechowski (1513–1566), the princes were subject to corporal punishment which was approved by their father.Duczmal (2012), p. 303 Długosz noted Casimir's skills in oratory when he delivered speeches to greet his father returning to Poland in 1469 and Jakub Sienienski, the Bishop of Kujawy, in 1470.
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