Church of St. Casimir, Vilnius

Church of St. Casimir
Šv. Kazimiero bažnyčia

Façade of St. Casimir's
Basic information
Location Vilnius, Lithuania
Geographic coordinates 54°40′39.50″N 25°17′19.55″E / 54.6776389°N 25.2887639°E / 54.6776389; 25.2887639Coordinates: 54°40′39.50″N 25°17′19.55″E / 54.6776389°N 25.2887639°E / 54.6776389; 25.2887639
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Old Town
Architectural description
Architect(s) Jan Frankiewicz
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Baroque
Completed 1618
Materials plastered masonry

Church of St. Casimir (Lithuanian: Šv. Kazimiero bažnyčia, Polish: Kościół Św. Kazimierza) is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, close to the Vilnius' Town Hall. It is the first and the oldest baroque church in Vilnius, built in 1618.[1] The construction of the church began in 1604 in memory of the holy prince Saint Casimir: it was built by the Jesuits with funding by the Great Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Lew Sapieha. It is traditionally assumed that the corner stone (which can be seen on the façade wall) was pulled into the city by procession of 700 Vilniusites from the Antakalnis hills. The construction was finished in 1616, and the interior design completed in 1618. The Church of St. Casimir is one of the earliest exemplary Baroque buildings in the city, designed along the line of the famous Il Gesù church in Rome (Church of the Gesù). It was apparently designed by Povilas Bokša, and the construction was supervised by Jan Frankiewicz, a pupil of architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni. In the middle of the 18th century the church was reconstructed by architect Tomas Žebrauskas. Under his supervision a stepped lantern cupola with a crown was erected. This large and impressive cupola is unique in the entire region of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Under Russia's occupation the church of St. Casimir was converted into a Russian Orthodox church. In 1915 Vilnius was occupied by the Germans and the church was converted into the Evangelical Lutheran prayer house of the Vilnius Garrison. In 1919 the church of St. Casimir was returned to the Catholics, but was damaged again during the Second World War, closed down and in 1963 converted into a Museum of Atheism. The church was reconsecrated in 1991.


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