Slovenia 1200-1500 1618-1790

Reformation Slovenia (16th century)

In 1511 Ljubljana was struck by an earthquake. In 1515 a Peasant Revolt against excessive taxation spread from Gottschee over Carniola.
The various parts of Slovenian territory were Habsburg rule, although they preserved their distinct traditions and institutions. In the course of the 16th century the Lutheran Reformation spread through Slovenia. In Slovenia, the Reformation was largely an affair of the nobility (and the political aspect of the reformation dominated); the peasantry reacted rather passively and, overall, seems to gave been little affected (more in Carniola, less in Styria). Of course, the Reformation took a hold in the cities, yet here there was a strong ethnic German element. The Reformation further found proponents among the clergy - leading advocates of protestantism were members of the Ljubljana (Laibach) Cathedral Chapter. The Estates of Carniola leaned toward the Reformation in 1525. In 1530 decrees were issued against the spread of Lutheran/heretic publications.
Primus Truber is regarded the Reformer of Slovenia. He began preaching protestant sermons while priest at Laibach Cathedral 1535-1536, but soon had to flee - to Trieste, where he was influenced by Bishop Bonomo who himself sympathized with the Reformation. Here in Triest Truber got acquainted with protestant literature, mainly Swiss (Bullinger). Truber temporarily returned, but when suppression of protestantism set in in 1547 he fled to Nürnberg, where he got acquainted with Lutheran publications, and where he translated the first parts of the New Testament into Slovenian (1557). In 1557, the Katekizem (Catechism) was printed (Truber, in Rothenburg ob der Tauber), the first book to be printed in Slovenian language (then called Windisch (Wendian) language); in 1584 the bible was printed in Slovenian by Jurij Dalmatin (he had completed Truber's translation).
Under Laibach Bishop Peter von Seebach, repression against protestantism ebbed down; protestnt literature again spread through Slovenia. Truber returned in 1561, at the request of the Estates of Carniola, on order to organize a protestant church there; he wrote the Cerkovna Ordninga (Church Ordinnance). In 1564 Emperor Ferdinand died; his successor as ruler of Styria-Carniola-Carinthia, Archduke Charles, implemented a policy of severe suppression; Truber went into exile in 1565; he died in 1586.
In 1578 Archduke Charles needed the support of the Estates of Inner Austria (Styria, Carinthia, Carniola) against the Turks and, in return, made concessions (Brucker Libell). Yet already in 1580 he disregarded it, introduced the Counterreformation. In the 1590es - Bishop Chrön, in a letter to the pope, stated that hardly 5 % of the population of Laibach confessed Catholicism - the Counterreformation began in Slovenia (more radical in Styria, than in Carniola and Carinthia); it enforced Catholicism on the population of the various territories. A Jesuit college was established in Ljubljana (1596); the one in Graz (Styria, est.1572) elevated to university in 1586. The Jesuits first targeted the peasants; in 1598 the Lutheran priests were banned from Laibach. Persons who insisted on holding on to Lutheran creed were forced into emigration.
According to 1991 figures, only about 1 % of the population is protestant, as compared to 70.8 % Catholics. Although the Reformation in Slovenia was too short-lived to take firm roots, her lasting legacy, Slovenian-language literature, provided a foundation for the national movement in the late 18th and early 19th century.
Parts of Slovenia were episodically invaded by Ottoman raiding parties (1522, 1528, 1530, 1540, 1558, 1559, 1594). Another episodically appearing event was the recurrence of the plague (1578, 1600/01).

Chronology of Catholic Dioceses : Slovenia, from Kirken i Norge
A Brief History of Slovenia, by Stane Granda
A Brief History of the Slovene Nation, from Catholic Church of Slovenia
Die Geschichte des Klarissenklosters in Mekinje, from (History of the Monastery St. Clare in Mekinje), in German
History of Ljubljana, from Ljubljana
DOCUMENTS Slovenian History, from Carantha, under 'Archives Pt.1-4' has long lists of German language regests on the history of Slovenia c.1250-1600
REFERENCE Anton Slodnjak, Über die Nationbildende Kraft der Reformation bei den Slowenen (On the Nation-Building Force of the Reformation with the Slovenes), pp.11-22 in Rudolf Trofenik (ed.), Abhandlungen über die Slowenische Reformation (Transactions on the Slovene Reformation), München 1968, in German
Balduin Saria, Die Slowenische Reformation und ihre Bedeutung für die Kulturelle Entwicklung der Slowenen (The Slovene Reformation and her Relevance for the Cultural Development of the Slovenes, pp.23-49 in Trofenik, Abhandlungen (s.a.)

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 18th 2002, last revised February 15th 2006

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