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joulukuu 17, 2006

2007 marks the 450th anniversary of Mikael Agricola’s death

Mikael Agricola was a Finnish clergyman who was the founder of written Finnish. He was also of the prominent proponents of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden-Finland. He was born around 1510 in the village of Torstila, located in Pernaja at Uusimaa, and was given the name Mikael Olavinpoika ("son of Olavi") after the patron saint Mikael of Pernaja's church.

When Mikael was about 10 years old, he was sent to a school in Vyborg. In Viipuri he assumed the surname Agricola, derived from farmer, which was his father's profession. At the age of 18, Agricola became a scribe to the bishop of Turku and a year later a chancellor. In 1536 the bishop of Turku sent him to study in Wittenberg in Germany. Mikael attended classes given by Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon.

Mikael returned to Turku 1539 and was appointed as the rector of Turku Cathedral School. At some point of time Mikael married Pirjo Olavintytär ("daughter of Olavi"). They has a son called Christian Agricola, who became the bishop of Tallinn in 1584. The Swedish king Gustav Vasa demanded that the talented Mikael should come to work for the king’s chancery and tax chamber, but Mikael refused. Due to this he Gustav Vasa ordered Agricola to retire from his position as a rector in 1548.

From 1550 onwards Mikael performed the duties of the bishop of Turku because the previous bishop Martti Skytte had died, but he was not ordained as a bishop until four years later. A war broke between Sweden and Russia in 1555 and peace negotiations were initiated two years later. Mikael joined the delegation that was going to Russia for peace negotiations. On the way back to Finland he fell ill and died 9 April 1557 in the Kyrönniemi village on the Karelian Isthmus. The exact location of his grave is not known.

Besides his other duties, Mikael translated and wrote several books in Finnish. The literary works of Agricola include:
1543 Abckiria (Ye ABC booke)
1544 Rucouskiria Bibliasta (A Prayer Booke from ye Bible)
1548 Se Wsi Testamenti (Ye New Testament)
1549 Käsikirja (Handbooke)
1549 Messu (A Missal)
1549 Meidän Herramme Jeesuksen Kristuksen piina (Ye Anguish of Oure Lorde Iesu Christ)
1551 Daavidin psalttari (Ye Psalter of Dauid)
1551 Veisut ja ennustukset Mooseksen laista ja profeetoista (Ye Songes & Prophesies from ye laws & prophesies of Moses)
1552 Ne profeetat (Ye Prophetes - Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi)

When Mikael started his literary works, there was no standard form of Finnish nor any printed Finnish literature. He created the written Finnish language based mainly on the southwestern dialects, but influenced also by other dialects, Swedish, Latin and German. The main driver for Mikael's work to create written Finnish was Luther's opinion that everyone should be able to read the Holy Bible in their own language.

Agricola Jubilee Year 2007 -website

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Lähettänyt – Sent by Jussi |
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