Olavus Petri

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Conrad Bergendoff wrote the definitive book in English on the Reformation in Sweden, called Olavus Petri and the Ecclesiastical Transformation in Sweden, published in 1928, and reprinted in 1965.
(69) The pattern of the Sunday morning liturgy had been set by Olavus Petri, (70) whose order of service appeared for the first time in 1531.
(64.) Conrad Bergendoff, Olavus Petri and the Ecclesiastical Transformation in Sweden (New York: Macmillan, 1928; reprinted, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965).
(70.) For a discussion of his liturgical works, see chapter 5 ("The Liturgical Works") in Conrad Bergendoff, Olavus Petri and the Ecclesiastical Transformation in Sweden (New York: Macmillan, 1928), 147-177.
Consequently, the folk churches are generally treated as the established Lutheran bodies, with little attention historically to free church movements of renewal (no mention, for example, of Carl Olof Rosenius, who never left the Church of Sweden and is generally regarded the most influential person in the Swedish church after the reformer Olavus Petri), to the contemporary pluralistic expressions of church life in immigrant groups since the 1960s, or to the fastest growing dimensions of Pentecostal and charismatic parachurch groups (which do receive some indirect attention).