500th Anniversary of Reformation in Europe
Croatia – This productive author is not only recognized as the author of important theological works, such as Clavis Scripturae Sacrae seu de Sermone Sacrarum literarum, but also as a historiographer: his Catalogus testium veritatis was translated into the Croatian language.
Matija Vla?i? Ilirik, also known as Matthias Flacius Illyricus, was born in Labin in 1520. When he was sixteen years old, he left his home in Istria to study in Venice where he attained excellent education in humanities. Advised by his cousin who, even though a Franciscan, was a secret Luther follower, he left to study theology in Tübingen and Basel, and later in Wittenberg as the most important Lutheran stronghold.
There he built his university career under the Latin name of Matthias Flacius Illyricus, started a family and socialised with reformation leaders. However, unfavourable circumstances following Luther’s death due to the defeat of the Protestant Alliance and the Imperial decrees whose purpose was a partial restitution of Catholicism in Lutheran areas of the Holy Roman Empire forced him to leave Wittenberg and settle in Magdeburg where his polemical and theological production reached its height.
During the turbulent religious-political period that ensued, he relocated several times with his large family and a comprehensive library he gathered working on church-historical writings. This productive author is not only recognized as the author of important theological works, such as Clavis Scripturae Sacrae seu de Sermone Sacrarum literarum, but also as a historiographer: his Catalogus testium veritatis was translated into the Croatian language. He gained a special merit in this field as the initiator and one of the main editors of comprehensive Church history known under the shortened title of Magdeburg Centuries.
Thanks to its innovative methodology, such as the critical analysis of source historic documents and the glossary system, he became known as the ”father of modern historiography“. Vla?i? passed away in 1575 in Frankfurt am Main. Today, his printed works are accessible in all major European libraries and his manuscripts and personal library are kept in Wolfenbüttel (Herzog August Bibliothek).