Casimir, the second son of the royal family, was born in Cracow on the 3rd of October, 1458. His life was not long: he died before he reached 26 years of age, on the 4th of March, 1484, in the castle of Gardinas in Lithuania. The young man had all the traits that the epoch prized in the ruler: political instinct, intelligence, education, personal charm. Yet he was strangely different from the majority of the rulers of that time, just as he is from the present ones. His ideal as a man and a statesman was spelt out in the words of the Psalm: “He that has clean hands, and a pure heart” (Ps 24, 4).
It is sometimes said that every true temple is an image of the Universe: it contains both the Heaven and the Earth, the human world and the signs of eternity. The Chapel dedicated to the patron of Lithuania likewise encompasses the totality of reality, both visible and spiritual.
Two centuries after his death, Casimir’s ideal of sanctity was retold in the language of the new Baroque epoch. It is the language of movement and passion, of paradox and metaphor. Curved and broken lines of the Chapel’s architecture convey Casimir’s striving for God. Garlands of fruits and herbs remind one of immeasurable spiritual harvest which life in the union with Jesus yields.