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Historian Underlines Significance of Protestantism for Slovenians

Reformation Day, a national holiday marking a 50-year period in the 16th century that had a profound impact on Slovenian culture, is observed on 31 October. This year it coincides with the 500th birth anniversary of the author of the first book in Slovenian, protestant priest Primoz Trubar.

 

Reformation is important for Slovenians because it "gave birth to the Slovenian written language", according to Igor Grdina of the Institute of Cultural History at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU).

 

The movement started in Germany, but with the advent of the printing press, Protestant ideas quickly spread across Europe and were brought to Slovenia by travelling students, craftsmen and priests, he explained.

 

Trubar was the central figure of Protestant Reformation in Slovenia. He followed the belief of this 16th century European movement that books should be written in a language that people can understand.

 

By publishing his "Abecedarium" spelling-book and "Catechism" in 1550, he gave Slovenians the first books in their language. Moreover, in "Catechism" the inhabitants of today's Slovenia were referred to as "Slovenci" (Slovenians) for the first time.

 

This year, a host of ceremonies, symposiums and exhibitions have been organised throughout the county to honour Trubar's 500th birth anniversary.

 

Numerous experts argue that the highlight of the period was the first Slovenian translation of the Bible by Jurij Dalmatin (1547-1589), published in 1584. Slovenians were thus the first Slav people to read the Bible in their native tongue.

 

Another important Protestant was Adam Bohoric (1520-1598), who produced the first Slovenian grammar, marking the development of the Slovenian written language for the next couple of centuries.

 

Grdina also pointed to Counter-Reformation as a violent movement of the period, in which Slovenian books were burnt in piles by Christian dignitaries, but highlighted that both Protestants and Christians suffered great losses at that time.

 

The Lutheran Evangelical Church has some 20,000 followers in Slovenia, centred in the NE region of Prekmurje.

 

The main celebration marking Reformation Day will be held in Ljubljana on Thursday, with President Danilo Tuerk delivering the keynote.

 

 

Source: STA

 

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