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Olaus Petri

From Academic Kids

Olof Persson (sometimes Petersson; born January 6, 1493 in Örebro, died April 19, 1552 in Stockholm), better known under the Latin form of his name, Olaus Petri, was a clergyman, writer and a main character of the Protestant reformation in Sweden. His brother, Laurentius Petri, became the first Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop of Sweden.

Petri first studied at the University of Uppsala, then in Leipzig, and then finished his education with his M.A. at the University of Wittenberg in 1518. During his time in Germany he got acquianted with the main characters of the German reformation, Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther.

He returned to Sweden with his brother in 1519. It is reported how they both nearly died as the boat ran ashore on the island Gotland during a storm. They stayed on Gotland for a while and the bishop there, Mattias Gregersson, appointed Olaus as his secretary and as dean in 1520.

Olaus accompanied the bishop to Stockholm in 1520, to the tumultuous crowning of the Danish King Christian_II_of_Denmark who had taken over Stockholm and held it for a year until he returned to Denmark. At the notorious Bloodbath in November several Church men and politicans were executed. Olaus expressed his outrage and was as a result almost executed himself, but a German who had seen him in Wittenberg saved him by explaining he was a German.

When the Swedish King Gustav Vasa was crowned in 1523, Olaus got to make his acquaintance. A year later he moved to Stockholm as town secretary. He spoke out sharply in favour of Lutheranism and against the prevailing Roman Catholicism.

In October 1524 he and his brother were excommunicated by the Church, on the grounds of heresy. It appears as though this did not trouble him, partly because he still had a strong supporter in the Swedish King. In 1525 he married, and had the mass sung in Swedish for the first time; one of Luther's ideas.

In 1531 the King declared Swedish to be Lutheran. This had been mostly as a result to the Petri brothers efforts of learning the King and the population about Luther's tenets.

In 1539 he was ordained priest. But shortly thereafter he and the King had a falling out, probably because they were both dominant persons who had ideas in opposition. Olaus also fearlessly critized the King's as he thought appropriate. But the main reason was the Olaus had gained knowledge of a conspiracy against the King during confession which he did not reveal. During trial on January 2, 1540, a court sentenced him and Laurentius Andreae to death.

After much bargaining and many requests, Olaus friends managed to get him released on a bail. He became inspector over the schools in Stockholm 1542 and dean of Storkyrkan in Stockholm in 1543, wherein he also was buried at his death. Since 1898 there is statue of him outside Storkyrkan.

He was described as energetic and pushy and serious about matters in which he believed. He also wrote much, in fact he is responsible for a main part of the early printed literature in Sweden. Among others he wrote a Chronicle of Sweden, which despite not being altogether correct contains many interesting facts.

Olaus Petri is the main character of August Strindberg's play Master Olof (Swedish title: Mäster Olof).

See also

References

fi:Olaus Petri sv:Olaus Petri

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