I was in Vilnius on Saturday. It is the day of weddings that’s why in every second church was wedding ceremony. Attending of churches was limited. I enjoyed the architecture decorations of churches. This angel’s head was the element of St.Casimir’s Church decoration.
St. Casimir is the oldest Baroque church in Vilnius, built in 1604, named after the patron Saint of Lithuania, Prince Casimir Jagiellon.
The church suffered many abuses through the years,Napoleon’s troops used it to store grain in 1812, it was converted into an Orthodox Church by the Russians about 20 years later, it was used as a Protestant church by the German occupiers in 1915-1917. But the worst abuse has to be the Soviet's use as a museum of atheism.
Today it's once again a church with weekly services.
The construction of St. Casimir began in 1604 in memory of the holy prince Casimir by the Jesuits with funding by the Great Duchy Leo Sapieha. The construction was finisehd in 1616. The Church of St. Casimir is one of the earliest exemplary Baroque buildings in Vilnius. In 1812 the church was partly destroyed by Napolean army. After the 1830-31 uprising it was converted into a Russian Orthodox church. In 1864-68 the church was turned into the Cathedral of St. Nicholas and was returned to the catholics in 1917. It was damaged in the World War II and was closed down. In 1961 it was converted into a Museum Atheism. It was not until 1989 before the museum was eliminated and the building was given back to the parishioners and the church was reconsecrated in 1991.
This monument of earliest baroque church in Vilnius and is visible from Town Hall. Exterior and interior has been changed a lot times from 1604, when this church was built. It was not only Catholic church, but Orthodox and Protestant too. Also (in soviet times) this church was museum of atheism.
Really interesting is exterior - with a big crown (St Casimierus crown) on the roof.
Inside is not so gorgeous and reminds me Protestant church.
This is my Dad's favorite church in Vilnius; it is a beautiful Baroque/ Rococco style building. The interesting thins is that its tower has on the top sort of a king's crown, which makes it look very special. Unfortunately, as you can see in the pic, we were always unlucky enough to take pictures of it while it was being restored. Nevertheless it is stunning.
The baroque St. Casimir's church looked impressive but... was not that interesting for me as there were many similar churches in Poland.
I found the most interesting its complicated history which reflected the history of Vilnius and Lithuania. Built in 1604-1618 the church was one of the earliest, classic baroque edifices in Vilnius.
The church was:
- damaged by Napoleon's army in 1812,
- turned into an Orthodox church after anti-tzar uprising of 1830-1831,
- returned to the Catholics in 1917,
- damaged during WWII,
- closed by Soviet authorities,
- turned into... Museum of Atheism since 1961. Hmm... Soviet Union used to open a lot of so called Museum of Atheism inside catholic churches throughout Soviet Empire. I just think that maybe one should be saved, visitors could see what it was. It could be called Museum of Religious Intolerance. Bad idea? Well, churches are for prayers not for museums... but... who will know about such museums in a few years?
- returned to catholics and renovated when Lithuania regained independence.
There was a holy mass (service) when I entered St. Casimir's church. Although it was a business day there were many prayers inside. Not to disturb them I could only take a quick look at its highly decorated interiors with three late baroque altars. Well, I couldn't see the huge dome from the inside. It was topped with high, the largest in Grand Duchy of Lithuania lantern well seen from the outside.
The church was open:
Sun: 8.15 am - 1.00 pm,
Mon-Sat: 10.00 am - 6.30 pm.
Skip the hours of holy services (they last almost 1 hour each) whenever you want to visit the church.
The order of services
On Sundays and holidays:
9.00 am - holy mass in Russian,
10.30 youth mass,
12.00 holy mass; the concert of religious music follows this mass - hmm... it's a pity I wasn't there that time.
On other days:
5.30 pm holy mass (I was that time).
In front of the Town Hall lies baroque designed Jesuits church of St Casimir. The constructions of the church began in 1604 and completed in 1635. Saint Casimir was a royal prince of the Kingdom of Poland who became a patron saint of Lithuania (Wikipedia).
In the rather subdued city centre of Vilnius, the brash, baroque pink block of St. Casimir's church really stands out. The tiered dome, crowned ostentatiously in gold, is huge - the largest of its kind in all the former lands of the Grand Duchy. That and the chocolate box facade make the church look slightly alien juxtaposed against the plain white neo-classical lines of the town hall. Compared to the Cathedral of Vilnius, St. Casimir's is simply outlandish.
St. Casimir's started life as a Jesuit Catholic church, before being converted to Russian Orthodox. During this time the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky prayed here regularly. It was returned to the Jesuits and is now a Catholic church once again.
St Casimir's is the oldest Baroque church in town, founded by the Jesuits in 1604. It is named after Lithuania's patron saint St Casimir who had recently been canonised at the time the church was inaugurated.
In the 18th century the collapsed dome was replaced by a new one with a crown. It symbo-
lises the royal family (Jagello) that Casimir came from. At the same time the interior was decorated with 13 Late Baroque altars. Most of them were sadly later destroyed by the Napoleon army.
The church got its name changed to St Nicholaus in 1868 and also became Russian Ortho-
dox. However after a while it was realtered to a Catholic church again before it was turned into a museum during the Sovjet's rule. Since 1991 it's once again Catholic.
The church is open for visitors from 10.00 to 18.00 every day.
Near the Tourists centre is very beautiful church of Saint Casimir and Jesuit Monastery. All this buildings are in Didzoji Street.