Mikael Agricola

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Mikael Agricola (About this sound pronunciation ) (c. 1510 – 9 April 1557) was a clergyman who became the de facto founder of written Finnish and a prominent proponent of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden (including Finland). He is often called the "father of the Finnish written language". Agricola was consecrated as the bishop of Turku (Åbo) in 1554, without papal approval. As a result, he began a reform of the Finnish church (then a part of the Church of Sweden) along Lutheran lines. He translated the New Testament, the prayerbook, 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 while returning from a trip during which he negotiated a treaty with the Russians.



Early life

Mikael Olavinpoika ("son of Olavi", Mikko Olavinpoika, Michael Olaui, or as some Swedish documents show, "Mikkel Olafsson") was born in Uusimaa (Nyland) in the village of Torstila in Pernå, Finland, around the year 1510. He was named after the patron saint of Pernaja's church. The exact date of his birth, like most details of his life, is unknown. His family was a quite wealthy peasant family according to the local bailiff's accounting. He had three sisters, but their names are not known. His teachers apparently recognized his aptitude for languages and his rector Bartholomeus sent him to Viborg (Viipuri) for Latin school and some priestly training, where he attended the school of Erasmus.

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