by Gordon Nary
Prince Casimir was the he second son of King Casimir IV and Queen Elizabeth of Poland and was born on October, 03 1458; Rejecting even ordinary comforts, Casimir he slept on the floor after spending his nights in prayer .and was committed to a celebrate life.
When Casimir was thirteen he was offered the throne of Hungary by a Hungarian faction who were discontented under King Matthias Corvinus. Eager to defend the Cross against the Turks, he accepted the invitation and went to Hungary to receive the crown. He was unsuccessful, however, and returned a fugitive to Poland. When the king went to Lithuania to spend five years arranging affairs there in 1479, Casimir returned to Cracow and was placed in charge of
Poland from 1481 to 1483
Detail of the portrait of St. Casimir, Altar picture. Franciscan church, Cracow
His father tried to arrange a marriage for him, .but Casimir preferred to remain celibate Weakened by excessive fasting, he developed tuberculosis. He died on March 04, 1484 on a journey to Lithuania. His remains were interred in the Cathedral in Vilnius, Lithuania.
His first miracle is considered to be his apparition in 1518 at the Dauguva River during the war with Moscow. A large Russian army had assembled and threatened the city of Polotsk. A rather small force of Lithuanians stood to defend the city and fortress. The Lithuanians had to cross the swollen Dauguva River. Unable to find other help, they prayed to the saintly prince to intercede. St. Casimir is said to have appeared to the Lithuanians astride a white horse, wearing a white cloak. He urged the army to fight and rode first into the roaring river. The Lithuanians followed his example, fought fiercely and defeated Moscow's troops. The news of the prince's miraculous apparition and the victory spread throughout the country.
The miracle was investigated by bishops of that time and confirmed as authentic. The very fact that St. Casimir came to help in a battle against Lithuania's eternal enemy Moscow elevated him even higher in the eyes of the Lithuanians. Casimir became a symbol of the fight against the Russians and Russian Orthodoxy. and Casimir was canonized by Pope Adrian VI. Pope Clement VIII named March 04 as his feast
Many pilgrims come to Vilnius from all over Lithuanian to celebrate his feastday After services in the cathedral, they attend the Kaziuko muge (Casimir's Fair) a folk crafts fair dating back to the beginning of the 17th century where the most popular food sold are muginukas, heart-shaped honey cookies, which visitors buy and give to their loved ones.
Although there are no films about St. Casimir, there is a well-established Lithuanian film industry. So if you have never seen a Lithuanian film we recommend Before Flying Back to the Earth, a documentary film by Arūnas Matelis. about lives of children hospitalized with leukemia in Vilnius Pediatric Hospital . It will leave you in tears.
Muginukas (Lithuanian Honey Cookies)
1 cup honey 1/4 tsp cloves 3 eggs grated zest of 2 oranges 3 TB sugar 1 tsp baking powder 3 TB cream 1/2 tsp baking soda 4 oz butter 2 cups flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cream eggs with sugar, pour in honey, melted (cooled) butter, spices, zest and cream. Blend well. Mix the flour with baking soda and the baking powder, stir into the other ingredients.
Knead dough until it does not stick to hands . Cover and refrigerate about half hour. Roll out on floured surface; cut out hearts with a cookie cutter Bake at 3500 F until golden brown (about 10-15 min.).
Makes approximately 18- 24 cookies depending on size of cookie cutter