Saint Casimir

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Casimir Jagiellon (Polish: Kazimierz) (October 3, 1458 – March 4, 1484) was a prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who became a patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young.

A member of the Jagiellon dynasty, Casimir was born at Wawel, the royal palace in Kraków, and died at Hrodna.[1]

St. Casimir was the grandson of Jogaila and was the second son of king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Casimir IV and Queen Elisabeth Habsburg of Hungary. His maternal grandfather was the king Albert Habsburg of Hungary, king of Bohemia and "King of the Romans" of the Holy Roman Empire.

From the age of nine, St. Casimir was educated by Jan Długosz and Filippo Buonaccorsi (also known as Filip Callimachus). At the age of thirteen he was offered the throne of Hungary by factions discontented with king Mattias Corvinus. Casimir, eager to defend Christianity against the Turks, accepted the offer and went to Hungary to obtain the crown. His uncle Władysław III, king of Poland and Hungary, had been killed earlier at the Battle of Varna in 1444. Casimir was unsuccessful in this undertaking and returned as a fugitive. His father, King Casimir IV, had him educated well concerning public affairs and when his brother Władysław, became king of Bohemia, Casimir became crown prince and heir-apparent to the throne of Poland. Between 1479 and 1484 his father spent most of his time in Vilnius attending to the affairs of Lithuania, while Casimir acted as the vice-regent in Poland. Between 1481 and 1483, he administered the state with great prudence and justice. His father tried to arrange a marriage with a daughter of Emperor Frederick III, but Casimir preferred to remain single. Weakened by excessive fasting, he developed severe lung problems, possibly tuberculosis. On a journey to Lithuania in 1484, he died at Hrodna. His remains were interred in Vilnius. His remains rest in the baroque Saint Casimir's Chapel in the Vilnius Cathedral.

St. Casimir lived and reigned with great dignity and possessed great charm and character. Several miracles are ascribed to him. He was canonized by Pope Adrian VI in 1522 and is the patron saint of Lithuania. On June 11, 1948, Pope Pius XII named Saint Casimir the special patron of all youth.

The towns of Kvėdarna and Nemunaitis in Lithuania have Saint Casimir depicted on their Coat of Arms.


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