Olavus and Laurentius Petri
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Drawings of Olavus and Laurentius Petri

(from the Lutheran calendar)

Olavus Petri (born 1493) and his brother Laurentius (born 1499) were the principal leaders of the Lutheran movement in Sweden. Both studied at Wittenberg, where they were influenced by Martin Luther. Gustavus Vasa, first king of newly independent Sweden (formerly ruled from Denmark) brought the brothers to Stockholm and made Olavus a pastor and city councilman, and Laurentius his chancellor.

In 1526 Olavus translated the New Testament into Swedish, and also published a catechism. In 1530 he published a Swedish hymnal, and in 1531 he issued a Swedish version of the Latin mass, slightly simplified. In 1540 he resisted the king, who wished complete royal control of the Church, and was condemned to death, but later pardoned. He died 19 April 1552.

Laurentius became a professor at the university of Uppsala. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1527 and made Archbishop of Uppsala in 1531. The king had wished to abolish bishops altogether, but was persuaded otherwise by Laurentius, who thus saved the Swedish episcopate, which continues unbroken to this day. In 1541 the Petri brothers published a complete Bible in Swedish, and also a revised liturgy with increased congregational participation. Laurentius died in 1573.

written by James Kiefer


Almighty God, who by the hands of Olavus and Laurentius Petri gave to the people of Sweden the Scriptures and the services of the Church in their own tongue: mercifully grant that all men everywhere may be enabled to hear and read the Good News of salvation preached to them in terms that they understand, that so they may be drawn to the kingdom of your Blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.