Mikael Agricola’s Day, Finnish Language Day

From the Ovi magazine


Today, 9th of April Finland celebrates the Finnish language day to honour Mikael Agricola the man who first to use written Finnish language.ovi magazine

Mikael Agricola (c. 1510 – April 9, 1557) a Finnish clergyman who became de facto founder of written Finnish and one of the prominent proponents of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden-Finland. He is often called “the father of Finnish written language.” Agricola was consecrated as the bishop of Turku in 1554 without papal approval. As a result, he began a reform of the Finnish church along Lutheran lines. He translated the New Testament, the prayer book, hymns, and the mass into Finnish, and through this work set the rules of orthography that are the basis of modern Finnish spelling. His thoroughgoing work is particularly remarkable in that he accomplished it in only three years. He died suddenly on a return trip from negotiating a treaty with the Russians.

Agricola had thought about translating the New Testament in his early years of studying. At the time, however, there was no standard written form of Finnish. He started developing it. His first book, “Abckiria” was a primer for reading and a catechism, and it was first time printed in 1543. The catechism was included because only very few people could afford the whole Bible at the time. The first print contained 16 pages. There was a second print released in 1551 with 24 pages.

Agricola’s most prominent book is Se Wsi Testamenti, the first Finnish-language translation of the New Testament. The manuscript was completed in 1548. It contains 718 pages and many illustrations.

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