Casimir, St.

views updated


Patron saint of Poland and Lithuania; b. Cracow, Poland, Oct. 5, 1458; d. Grodno, Belorussia, March 4, 1484. He was the third son of King Casimir IV of Poland and Elizabeth, an Austrian princess. For his teacher he had the learned historian Jan dŁugosz. At the age of 13, Casimir was asked to accept the throne of Hungary from a faction opposed to King Matthias Corvinus, but the plan never materialized. After his brother W·adys·aw became ruler of Bohemia, Casimir became heir apparent to the Polish crown. While his father was in Lithuania on affairs of state from 1481 to 1483, Prince Casimir governed Poland in his stead with conspicuous prudence and justice. Not wishing to renounce his celibacy, he rejected his father's plans for him to wed the daughter of Emperor Frederick III of Germany. He died while on a trip in Lithuania, of which he was also Grand Duke, and was buried in the cathedral at Vilna. Casimir was noted for his deep piety, chastity, and a spirit of prayer with special devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The number of attributed miracles caused him to be venerated as a saint, and he was canonized in 1521. Pope paul v extended his feast to the entire Church.

Feast: March 4.

Bibliography: Acta Santorum March 1:334355. f. jaroszewicz, Matka Świetych Polska (Cracow 1767; repr. in 4 pts. Poznan 1893) 1:209216. f. papÉe, Święty Kazimierz królewicz polski (Lemberg 1902); Studya i szkice z czasów Kazimierza Jagielloń-czyka (Warsaw 1907). j. dubois, Catholicisme 2:614. b. stasiewski, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 6:12.

[l. siekaniec]