Reforming Finland

The Diocese of Turku in the Age of Gustav Vasa 1523-1560


Jason Lavery examines the Reformation in the Diocese of Turku during the reign of King Gustav Vasa (r. 1523-1560). This diocese, covering a territory better known then and now as Finland, encompassed the Swedish kingdom east of the Gulf of Bothnia.
The Reformation in Finland was driven by King Gustav Vasa’s state-building program, sometimes referred to as “royal reform” in respect to the church, as well as the spread of Lutheran theology and practice. Both royal and Lutheran reform were mutually reinforcing and dependent upon one another.
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Biographical Note

Jason Lavery, Ph.D. (1997), is Professor of History at Oklahoma State University and Docent in the Church History of Finland and Scandinavia at the University of Helsinki. He has published widely on the history of Finland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic Sea region, including The History of Finland (Greenwood, 2006).

Table of contents

List of Maps and Tables
 Notes on Spelling, Terminology, and Electronic Sources
Introduction: Scholars, Reformers, and the Diocese of Turku
 The Reformation as Statebuilding
 Finland's Lutheran Reformation
 Finland as a Location of Reform
 Place in Finland's History
 A Word on Sources
1 The Church and Medieval Finland
 Land and People
 The Church and the Swedish Crown's Eastward Expansion
 Finland's Church and the Swedish Kingdom's Domestic Politics
 The Church as an Agent of Regionality
 Finland's Medieval Church and European Culture
 Reform in the Late Medieval Era
 The End of the Kalmar Union and the Rise of Gustav Vasa
2 Finland and Gustav Vasa's Reformation by Crisis
 Finland and Gustav's Rebellion
 The Church and Gustav's Consolidation of Power
 Gustav's Confiscations in Finland
 Gustav and the Swedish Kingdom's Bishops
 Gustav Vasa and the Episcopal See of Turku
 The Rise of Lutheran Reform
 The Arrival of Lutheran Reform in Finland
 The Riksdag of Västerås
3 Reformation by Coexistence
 Bishops and Reformation
 The Background and Reputation of Martinus Skytte
 The Royal Takeover of Ecclesiatical Wealth
 Gustav Vasa, Reform, and Europe
 Religious Reform
 The First Steps Toward a Vernacular Church
 The Wittenberg Flock
 Gustav Vasa, the Germans, and the Bishops
 A New Wave of Exactions
4 The Creation of a Royal Church
 Mikael Agricola and His Account Book
 A New Round of Confiscations
 The Decline of the Cathedral Chapter
 The King's Cultivation of Parishes
 The Russian Threat
 Ecclesiastical Courts
5 A Reformation in Reverse?
 The Nobility
 The Case of Naantali Abbey
 The Reformation's Impact on the Cities
 Socio-Economic Change in the Clergy
 The Diocese of Turku—The Kingdom's Peaceful Quarter?
6 The Vernacular Reformation
 Mikael Olofsson Agricola
 "Learn Now, Old and Young:" Mikael Agricola and the Word of God in Finnish
 God Hears Finnish Prayers
 The New Testament and the Old Testament Books
 "In This Way the Mass is Held in Finnish"
 The Handbook
 Resources for Agricola's Work
7 Schools, Art, and Belief
 The Decline of the School System
 Paulus Juusten
 Philipp Melanchthon and the Diocese of Turku
 Remains of Catholic Belief and Practice
 The Persistence of Paganism
 Maintenance of Respect and Discipline
 Calvinists and Sabbatarians
8 The End of the Medieval Diocese
 New Bishops, New Dioceses
 War with Russia
 Gustav, the Church, and the War
 The Final Royal Confiscations
 John's Duchy of Finland
 Petrus Follingius
 Unpublished Sources
 Published Primary Sources
 Secondary Sources


All interested in the history of the Reformation era in Scandinavia and Europe. The book will be used by specialists, students, and educated laymen. This is the first study of its kind in English and the first comprehensive study on the entire era in any language in over sixty years.


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