Olavus Petri

Petri, Olavus


Born Jan. 6, 1493, in Örebro; died Apr. 19, 1552, in Stockholm. Swedish Reformation figure and writer. Son of a blacksmith. Brother of L. Petri.

O. Petri studied at the University of Wittenberg from 1516 to 1518 and became a follower of Luther. As a canon in Strängnäs in 1520 and a priest in Stockholm from 1524, he was the first in Sweden to preach the ideas of the Reformation in the spirit of Lutheranism. He was royal chancellor from 1531 to 1533.

Petri translated the New Testament into Swedish in 1526 and published the book of Protestant psalms Swedish Songs in 1530 (enlarged edition, 1536). For his disagreements with the king over the implementation of the Reformation and for his bold writings (including Swedish Chronicle, covering up to 1520, written 1531-33, and published in 1860), Petri was condemned to death in 1540. However, the sentence was commuted to a fine.

Petri’s conflict with the authorities is re-created in A. Strind-berg’s drama Master Olaf (1872). In 1550, Petri wrote the first dramatic work in Swedish, The Comedy of Tobias.


Samlade skrifter, vols. 1-4. Stockholm, 1914-17.


Schück, H. Olavus Petri, 4th ed. Stockholm, 1922.
Murray, R. Olavus Petri, 2nd ed. Stockholm, 1952.


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