Mikael Agricola

c.1510-1557. Finnish Reformer. After schooling in Viborg (Viipuri) he came to Abo (Turku), where he became acquainted with the Reformation through Peter Särkilax.* Working as secretary to the bishop, Agricola had the opportunity to preach the evangelical truth in Abo as well as in the countryside. He studied in Wittenberg (1536-39), and returning to Finland brought with him a letter of recommendation from Luther. For nine years he was principal of the school in Abo, the main institution for theological training. He strove to renew the inner life of the church in the spirit of the Reformation. In 1554 he was appointed bishop of Abo. Agricola did outstanding and significant work as author and publisher of books in Finnish. He published an ABC-book (1542) and a prayer book (1544) of prayers taken from the Bible and from the writings of Luther and other Reformers. His translation of the NT was finished in 1543 and published in 1548. The translation is from the original Greek, but the influence of Luther is evident. Agricola also translated parts of the OT into Finnish, among others the Psalms. In 1549 he published a church manual and a missal which greatly determined the development of the Finnish church services. These books are in the main based on the Swedish manual and missal by Olavus Petri. Agricola, who has been called “the Father of Finnish Literature,” laid the foundation of evangelical Christianity, theological training, preaching, education, and liturgy in Finland.