On April 7, 2022, in anticipation of Mikael Agricola Day, April 9, Darya Shkurlyatyeva, member of the Lutheran Church of Vyborg, musician, church music teacher, journalist and publishing expert, guided an excursion for the church’s guests—students from the Higher School of Printing and Media Technologies in St. Petersburg. Darya talked about the Lutheran bishop and church reformer Mikael Agricola (1510–1557), the author of the first Finnish primer and the first Bible translator into Finnish, often called the “Father of the Finnish Language.”
Mikael Agricola went to a Latin school in Vyborg, which in that day was in the Kingdom of Sweden and now in Russia. Later, he was a student at the theological department of the University of Wittenberg, Germany. He was enthusiastic about translating the Bible into the Finnish language. To do that, he had to invent an alphabet for Finnish as Finnish was only a spoken language before then. Agricola’s Finnish primer was first published in 1543. He completed his Finnish translation of the New Testament in 1548. His translation laid the foundation for the Finnish literary language.
The excursion closed with a short organ recital at Vyborg Lutheran Church.
Darya Shkurlyatyeva is also the creator and editor of, and contributor to, “The Agricola Leaflet,” which talks in Russian about all things Agricola in history and in modern day.
In photos: page from Agricola’s Finnish primer, 1543; students from Higher School of Printing stand in front of Agricola monument in Vyborg; title page from 2017 issue of “The Agricola Leaflet”; Agricola Pastry first made in 2014.
Being able to read Holy Scripture in one’s native language is a great privilege and joy! On this day, we give thanks to God for Christian translators and for parents and teachers who teach literacy to children!