Vilnius – Church of St. Casimir

Unfortunately, this beautiful baroque church isn’t routinely open to visitors outside of the main summer season, and it’s a shame that such a building can’t be made a little more accessible. The church is dedicated to St. Casimir and work started on it in 1604 and it opened in 1618.

The twentieth century did not treat the church well (not that it had been particularly well treated before), it was confiscated by the Germans during the First World War and used as the Lutheran Church of the city’s garrison. The church was then badly damaged during the Second World War, then repaired, and then, in a highly political decision by the Soviets, it was turned into the Museum of Atheism.

There’s a photo on this site which shows the inside of the church at the time that it was a museum, although at least the integrity of the interior was broadly maintained. The authorities did though put in a stained glass window which quoted a Lithuanian philosopher saying “there is no God”. In 1991, the church was reconsecrated and work took place to bring it back into regular use.

There’s an information board outside of the church which details further difficulties which the building and its congregation have gone through over the centuries.