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Matthias Flacius Illyricus
Matthias Flacius Illyricus PDF Print E-mail
Life and Works

Matija (Franković) Vlačić Ilirik (Matija Vlačić Ilirik)
Labin, 1520 – Frankfurt-am-Main, 1575

Lutheran reformer, theologian, linguist, philosopher and church historian. One of the most famous sons of Labin. He spent most of his life in Germany where he first studied theology, Greek and Hebrew and was Luther’s student in Wittenberg. He dedicated his life to teaching, and to the spreading and defending of what he believed was the true Lutheran understanding. He published more than 200 books, pamphlets and other materials, primarily about theology, church history and Biblical interpretation. Among his most significant works are Clavis Scripturae Sacrae (Key to the Sacred Scriptures), Catalogus Testium Veritatis (Catalogue of the Witnesses of Truth) and Ecclesiastica Historia (widely known as the Magdeburg Centuries, prepared by Flacius and a group of his colleagues. It was the first work on church history written from a Protestant perspective).

“A man of resolute courage, insuperable strength, possessing a wide-ranging knowledge one rarely encounters, with a broad vision and an industrious spirit.”
Wilhelm Preger, 1878

Main works PDF Print E-mail
Main Works

Catalogus testium veritatis... (Catalogue of Witnesses of the Truth)
Catologus title page

In this monumental work Flacius aimed to collect all those “witnesses” throughout the centuries who had resisted the central control of the papacy and proved the theological theses of the Protestant movement. Relying on primary sources, together with Flacius’ commentary, Catalogus described the plight of people who strove to preserve the New Testament faith and resisted the “Antichrist” (Rome).
Catalogus was written between 1553 and 1555 and was first published in Basel in 1556, with ten more editions to follow later.

List of other works PDF Print E-mail
List of Publications

Flacius, Matthias Illyricus. Clavis Scripturae Sacrae, seu de Sermone Sacrarum literarum (Basileae: Ioannes Oporinus & Eusebius Episcopius, 1567).

________ . Demonstrationes evidentissimae XXX. Praesentiae, distributionisque corporis ac sanguinis Christi in sacra coena hactenus multis minus cognitae (Ursel: Nikolaus Henricus, 1565).

________ . Demonstrationes evidentissimae doctrinae de essentia imaginis Dei et  Diaboli, iustitiaeque ac iniustitiae originalis, una cum testimoniis veterum ac  recentium theologorum (Basileae: Petrus Pernas, 1570).

________ . Defensio sanae doctrinae de originali iustitia ac iniustitia, aut peccato (Basileae, 1570).

Flacius Accomplishments PDF Print E-mail
Flacius’ Accomplishments

There is still no definite work which presents a comprehensive and detailed survey of Flacius’ written legacy. The quotes by different authors cited on these pages reveal only certain aspects of Flacius’ significance.

“…one of the best scholars and theological thinkers of the Augsburg confession” (Pierre Bayle, 1696)

“He was a very educated man, not only in theological studies, but also in Greek and Hebrew, and in the field of literature.” (Girolamo Gravisi, around 1750)

“…he was gifted with great talent, especially in literary criticism, and with broad views and profound knowledge …” (Pietro Stancovich, 1829)

“There are cases when very little is needed and this “little” decides whether the ship will sink or stay above water. When society gets into such situations, it is a great thing to have a man of such steadiness, determination, and even unscrupulousness, as Flacius was.” (August Twesten, 1844)

Children PDF Print E-mail
Flacius’ Children
Matthias Flacius married Elisabeth Faust in November 1545. Following her death, he married Magdalena Ilbeck on 23 October 1564. According to sources, Flacius had 18 children and 12 of them were from his first marriage.
Matthias Flacius Illyricus Junior PDF Print E-mail
Flacius’ Children

(12 September 1547 – 27 April 1593)

Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Jr. was the oldest son of Matthias Flacius Illyricus. He was born on 12 September 1547 in Braunschweig (Brunswick), where his parents were staying temporarily. His mother and father had become refugees in the autumn of 1546 when the troops of Maurice of Saxony attacked Wittenberg on 6 November 1546 and when the university closed down. Matthias and Elisabeth fled to Braunschweig and Matthias Jr. was born there the following year. Soon after his birth the Wittenberg University was opened again (Melanchthon had signed the Augsburg Interim in the meantime) and Flacius returned to his teaching schedule in the autumn of 1547. Around Easter 1549 the Flacius family moved to Magdeburg, so already as a small child, Matthias Jr. was an experienced traveler.

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