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date: 26 April 2017

Martin Luther in Central Europe: Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia

Summary and Keywords

The reception of Luther in central Europe has been influenced by the Counter-Reformation and re-Catholicization more than anywhere else. Protestantism was so widespread in this area throughout the 16th century that it largely reduced the Roman Catholic Church to a minority confession, but 500 years later it comprises a majority. The diaspora situation did not leave space for academic research in Luther’s theology. This article focuses on just two regions of central Europe that can serve as typical case studies: parts of the lands of the Bohemian crown, and of the kingdom of Hungary. Similarities could be found in other parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, but particular historical complexities make it difficult to speak about central Europe as a whole.

In its early phase, Luther’s thought spread primarily in regions where the population was able to read Reformation texts in German: Silesia, North Bohemia, Moravia, Upper Hungary, west Hungary, and Transylvania. From about 1520, it was predominantly the cities along the routes of German traders that contributed to the spread of Luther’s writings in central Europe. In addition, the strong political position of the estates influenced the reception of Luther’s theology in certain areas more than in others. Moreover, the catechetical work done in schools under humanistic influence supported the idea of reformation and religious tolerance. Luther had a much more lasting impact on piety and spirituality through his Small Catechism and hymns than through theological reception, for example in Slovakia. In Bohemia, in contrast, Luther’s works were first translated into another national language, and there occurred theological reflection from various angles, yet no lasting tradition of Lutheranism was established.

Reformation in Slovakia, as in like in Hungary, Austria, and Poland, was dominated by Lutherans, whereas in Bohemia and Moravia the Hussite reformation and religious freedom allowed the development of various other confessions, such as Utraquism and the Unity of the Brethren. In central Europe, the Reformation started earlier but was broadly established later than in western Europe. In the first half of the 1520s, the impact of Luther was sporadic and not connected throughout larger areas. After the battle at Mohács and the Diet of Augsburg, the call for ecclesiastical reform was more broadly accepted, first in the cities with predominant German populations, then by the nobility, and by the 1540s by Hungarians, Slovaks. The Letter of Majesty in Bohemia (1609), and the Peace of Vienna and Diet of 1608 in Hungary constituted legal recognition of the evangelical communities. The Reformation in Bohemia and Hungary was more diverse than anywhere in western Europe. The confessionalization of the Reformation reflected and accentuated ethnic differences throughout the region.

Keywords: Martin Luther, Utraquism, Unity of Brethren, Upper Hungary, German population, Small Catechism


The religious currents in Bohemia that preceded and accompanied the spread of Luther’s theology were Hussitism in its later form of Utraquism, and its splinter group, the Unity of the Brethren. After the execution of Magister Jan Hus in July 1415, a spiritual development arose that shaped religious life in Bohemia for the next 150 years.1 Hus’s criticism of papal corruption and clerical abuse of office paved the way for vigorous, even radical religious attempts to reform piety by strict adherence to biblical principles, as represented by the Taborites. The Taborites not only resisted Catholic opposition but even spread their ideas by “noble pilgrimages” (spanilé jazdy) into regions of eastern and northern central Europe. After the defeat of the Taborites in May 1434 at Lipany, they lost military support, with the consequence that spiritual leadership in the kingdom passed to the moderate group of the Utraquists (or Calixtines) by 1452.2 With the Utraquist stress on communion under both kinds for laity, communion for children, singing devotional hymns in parishes, preaching of scripture, and celebrating the martyrdom of Jan Hus, the Utraquist church developed as the institutional expression of the Hussite movement.3 In 1436 the Bohemian kingdom became the first multi-confessional kingdom in Europe, which led to the self-perception that Bohemia had undergone a reformation long before Luther.

A second religious space that came to reflect Luther’s theology was the Union of the Congregations of Bohemian Brethren (Unitas Fratrum, Jednota Bratrská), known in English as the Unity of the Brethren.4 In second half of 1460 the Brethren Union separated from the Utraquist Church; inspired by Petr Chelčický, it stressed the primacy of scripture, radical pacifism, and withdrawal from society for life in small religious communities. In contrast to Rome and the Utraquists, the Brethren Union rejected the priesthood, understood the sacraments of baptism and communion in a spiritual sense, and valued a fundamentally biblical Christian spirituality. The Union existed in Bohemia, but from 1547 was found predominantly in Moravia.

A third major space for the reception of Luther was the German communities that were still Catholic. Because of Saxon immigration to northern and western parts of Bohemia from the beginning of 16th century, Lutheran ideas spread rapidly there. The Markgravate of Moravia represented a tolerant model for freedom of faith, protected by the system of estates that enabled the coexistence of many religious groups. As Winfried Eberhard writes, “The Lutheran Reformation in Bohemia has to be understood against this complicated and many layered background.”5

The Utraquists

Luther’s increasing sympathy for Jan Hus as a person can be observed especially after the Leipzig debate in 1519.6 From this point on, we find several very positive statements about Hus, for example Luther’s well-known words in a letter to Georg Spalatin from February 1520: “I have taught and held all the teachings of Jan Hus, but thus far did I not know it. Johann von Staupitz taught it in the same unintentional way. In short, we were all Hussites but did not know it.”7

A pastor of the town church, Jan Poduška, and the provost of the university’s Collegium Carolinum, Václav Rožďálovský, corresponded with Luther and sent him a copy of Hus’s treatise De ecclesia in July 1519. In March 1520, through the initiative of Luther, it was printed in Hagenau by Thomas Anselm (in 2,000 copies).8 In his treatise To the Christian Nobility, Luther stated, “It is time that we at last took up the matter of the Bohemians seriously and sincerely, to unite them with us and us with them”9; this, however, was too optimistic. The Bohemians saw in Luther the reformer of Saxony, as Hus had been the reformer of Bohemia.10 In the eyes of the Utraquist Church, Luther was the “confirmation of their own tradition.”11

King Louis II called the estates together in June 1522 in Prague to deal with the appointment of an archbishop, a welcome chance to prepare a reunion between the Utraquists and Rome. Luther advised against any union with Rome in a tract written to the Bohemian estates on July 15, 1522, stating that even if the Bohemians would depart from Hus, the Germans would still defend him.12 Since the question of the apostolic succession was an important topic for the Utraquists, Luther in 1523 dedicated his proposals for the reconstitution of the Utraquist ministry to the “senate and people of Prague” in the treatise De instituendis ministris ecclesiae ad senatum Pragensem Bohemiae (1523).13 At this time agreement with Luther progressed among the reformist wing of the Utraquists, especially about the authority of scripture, keeping two sacraments, and rejection of the sacrificial idea of the Mass. Yet the Utraquists held to the Taborite rejection of the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion, as well as to the Hussite distrust in the principle of salvation by faith alone. Burián Sobek of Kornice represents the gradual advance of reformist Utraquism. He studied in Wittenberg, became a friend of Luther, and in 1521 returned to Prague as a doctor of law. In 1523 he was elected city chancellor as the political card turned in favor of the reformist Utraquists; at the end of the year, he published a translation of Luther’s treatise De instituendis in Czech as O ustanovení služebníků církve.14 The impulse to write this treatise came from an Utraquist cleric, Havel Cahera (Gallus Czahera). This promising theologian had visited Luther already in 1519; in the summer of 1523 he again stayed for several weeks at Wittenberg, and on Luther’s recommendation became administrator of the Utraquist Church. At this time he showed himself supportive of attempts to move the Utraquist Church to a reformation of its ministry and practice of ordination.

At the beginning of 1524, King Louis II opposed the reform. In March 1524 a new city council was elected and the Lutheran sympathizers were suppressed.15 Cahera shifted quickly to the conservative Utraquists, not only because he feared the loss of the guaranteed protection of the Utraquists based on the Compacts of 1436, but also because of a more general skepticism about the German reformation. A rapprochement with Wittenberg did not emerge. Yet a direct effect of the reception of Luther among Untraquists was, from 1530 on, a decrease in the number of Utraquist students at the universities in Cracow and Vienna and a great increase at the University of Wittenberg. These new relations, however, were oriented not only toward Luther but also toward Melanchthon.16

Several of Luther’s treatises were translated into Czech. Ein Sermon von dem Hochwirdigen Sacrament des heyligen waren Leychnams Christi (WA 2:742–758, O velebné svátosti svatého pravého těla Kristova) was printed in May 1520 by the Czech humanist and printer Oldřich Velenský of Munich in Bělé pod Bezdězem. This is actually the first translation of Luther’s treatise into another national language. A translation of Decem praecepta Wittebergensi praedicata populo (WA 1:398–521, Kázaní na desatero přikázaní Boží) was made by the university professor Pavel Hlavsa Příbram in 1520. Burian Sobek of Kornic translated five texts: in June 1521, Antwort Doctoris Martini Luthes vor K.M. und Fursten des Reichs (WA 7:867–877, Doktor Martin Luther před Velebností císařskú i přede všemi knížaty říše); later in 1521 Warumb des Bapsts und seyner Jungernn bucher von Doct. Martino Luther vorbrant seyn (WA 7:161–182, Doktor Martin Luther pro kterou příčinu papežský a jeho následovníkův knihy jest spálil, tuto zvýš), both printed by Severin in Prague; there followed Eyn sermon von dem newen Testament, das ist von der heyligen Messe (WA 6:353–378, Kázaní o novém zákone aneb o mši svaté), and De libertate Christiana (WA 7:49–73, O svobodě křesťanské). In 1522 Oldřich Velenský of Mnichov prepared an abbreviated translation of Luther’s Exposition of the Vision of Daniel concerning the Antichrist (WA 9:689ff.), printed in Prague (Výklad … o Antikristu na vidění Danielovo) and Von beyder gestallt des Sacraments (WA 10/II:11–41, Pojednání o Večeři Páně).17 Interestingly, there is no translation of Luther’s Small Catechism into Czech from this early stage of the Reformation. Nevertheless, the Small Catechism was a part of the curriculum of many schools, of which many achieved excellence, including city schools in Jáchymov (rector, Johannes Mathesius), Žatec, Horní Slavkov, Kadaň, Chomutov, Krupka, and Trutnov, and in 1611 Prague’s “illustrious gymnasium.”

Unity of the Brethren

Probably by 1520 Luther had learned of the teachings of the Brethren Union, a spiritual minority that was critical of the institutional church and the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion,. Throughout communications with their representatives, especially with the younger generation of the Union during 1522–1524, he argued with patience. This is surprising, since in his early years Luther (along with most other Germans) saw the Beghards as heretics.18

The first official encounter was mediated through a German reformer, Paul Speratus (at that time Jihlava), and a Czech Utraquist, Beneš Optát of Telč. In the spring of 1522 they had submitted to Luther their responses concerning the doctrinal position of the Czech Utraquists (Bohemi) and of the Czech Brethren (Beghardi). In September 1522, Brother Lukas of Prague (d. 1528), senior and leader in the period of the expansion and theological consolidation of the Union,19 stepped into the discussion with Luther. In his self-understanding he represented an older and more rigorous reformational theology than the partially reformist Saxon theology of Luther. He sent a defense of faith to Luther in October 1522,20 making clear his symbolic understanding and his renunciation of devotion to Christ’s presence in Holy Communion. The scripture does not teach sola fide, he argued, and Lutheran Christians are too lax in their conduct. Jarod Zeman has summarized this difficult state of affairs: “The leaders of the Union greeted Luther as a welcome ally in their lonely search for the true church. At the same time, many of them, especially the aging Bishop Lukáš himself, reacted to Luther’s theology and to the events in Wittenberg with the caution of a man who had defended his position in battles on many fronts and who—by the time Luther appeared on the scene—had finalized his views into a well-rounded system of theology.”21

The hesitance of Lukas was counterbalanced with more openness by Jan Roh (Johann Horn). He became the main spokesman for the new pro-Lutheran orientation in the Union. As a young deacon at Litomyšl (until August 1518), in 1522 he visited Luther in Wittenberg, accompanied by Michael Weisse, a monk exiled from Breslau. Two more visits followed in 1523 and 1524. As ambassadors of Bishop Lukáš, they led discussions over theological issues: the question of the real presence in the communion, of the adoration of Christ in the sacrament, and the Brethren’s emphasis on an active life of faith as opposed to justification by faith alone. Luther was rather moderate in his judgment, stating that the Brethren affirmed the real presence, even though they expressed it in peculiar terminology.22 The translation of Luther’s Vom Anbeten des Sacraments des heiligen Leichnams Christi (WA 11:431–456, Spis Martina Luthera z řeči německé v českú přeložený) done by Jan Roh and published at Litomyšl in 1523 falls into this period.

The key difference rested, however, in the understanding of the gospel as the Word of God. The Brethren perceived the gospel as rather a “new law of God.” An example par excellence is the Sermon on the Mount, which serves as a foundation for the new order in the church, society, and the world. After the fifth visit by Roh and Weisse to Wittenberg in 1524, the official contacts of the Union with Luther broke off. Roh, perhaps disappointed by the apparent lack of new life and church discipline among Luther’s followers, finally changed his position: “At the end of his life, after a quarter of a century of persistent efforts to align the Union with the Lutheran camp, he publicly repented of his ‘blindness toward the great heritage of the Union’ and pledged to return to the theology of Lukáš.”23

Despite this, contacts resumed in 1533 and lasted till 1542, as can be seen in the extensive correspondence between Luther and ecclesial, civil, and civic leaders of the Union.24 This “Lutheran era” of the Union was initiated by Jan Augusta, elected as senior of the Union in 1528. It lasted for ten years, with four official visits by Augusta to Wittenberg. The most important topic during this era was justification sola fide. Two of the Union’s confessions, Rechenschaft (1533) and Apologia verae doctrinae (1538), were translated into Latin by the Utraquist Burian Sobek of Kornice, and sent to Luther. Luther, hesitantly, had both of them printed in Wittenberg, with his preface.25 Roh and Augusta, on the other side, elaborated the confession of the Union of Brethren (Confessio Fratrum, 1535), based on the Confessio Augustana.

Several treatises of Luther had been translated into Czech. Alexander Olivetský published in 1537 and 1539 Luther’s commentary to the apocryphal Book of Jesus Sirach, and two pirated copies were printed in Pilsen and Prague. This choice is understandable, since Luther perceived the wisdom book of Sirach as useful instruction for every household father. The orderly life of a household was important to the Brethren’s tradition too.26 This also explains the selection of the Psalm 127 as an instruction for rulers, translated by an unknown person and printed in 1539 (Luther’s lecture from 1533, WA 40/III:202–269) in Prague. The Union accepted Luther’s view on usury, based on his treatise An die Pfarrherrn wider den Wucher zu predigen (WA 51:325–424), and in 1540 issued a decree prohibiting the charging of interest on loans.

A question concerning the power of the keys and the understanding of the ministry played a role not only within the internal discussions of the Union but also became a topic of rapprochement with the Utraquists. In 1540 a translation appeared, comprised of two parts from Luther’s treatises Von den Schlüßeln, 1540 (WA 30/II:497–507) and Von den Konziliis und Kirchen (WA 50:624, 13–634, 14; and 641, 16–644, 4; these are only parts) with the title O klíčích Kristových a O církvi svaté, together with an introduction and appendix by the translator.

At the end of 1541, portions from Wider Hans Worst (WA 51:476, 31–535, 20; 554, 13–559, 22; 535, 21–546, 6) were translated by Jan Augusta and joined to other texts pointing to the proper procedure in departing from Rome and reforming the church according to biblical principles. In Moravia (Olmütz), Olivetský printed a treatise using portions from Luther’s sermons on Matthew, particularly on fasting (1532, WA 32:428, 1–436, 37), under the title Soud a rozum Doktora Martina Luthera o postu, na tu řeč Páně ‚Když sa postít budete (1540), and in 1541 a treatise on the Mass and the sacrament of ordination based on Luther’s Von der Winckelmesse und Pfaffen Weyhe (1533, WA 38:195, 15-256, 13; O mši obláštní neb samotní a o pomazaní kněžském knížka přeutešená doktora Martina Luthera z německého a latinského jazyku do českého s pilností přeložená etc.).

The translation of Die drey Symbola oder Bekentnis des glaubens Christi inn der kirchen eintrechtiglich gebraucht (WA 50:262–283; Troje symbolum aneb vyznání víry Kristovy v církvi jednosvorně užívané, 1538), printed in 1545, probably in Prossnitz (Prostějov), can be interpreted as an approach to the orthodoxy of the Brethren. In the same publication there is a second part dealing with the proper understanding of Holy Communion, Das ander tel widder die hymlischen vom Sacrament (1525, WA 18:164, 31–177, 32; 198, 18–205, 15; 181, 23–182, 10; Také se tuto položí někteří kusové z knih jeho vybrani proti Doctoru Karolostadiovi učinených, z nichž každý pozná, jakou víru i smysl M. Luther při večeři Páně má).

Two treatises, printed in 1544, the Heerpredigt widder den Türcken (1529, WA 30/II:160–197; Kázaní vojenské, z řeči německé do české přeložené od Zikmunda Zigy vytištěné), and the Wider die räuberischen und mörderischen Rotten der Bauern (1525, WA 18:357–361; Proti mordéřské a loupežné rotě sedláků Martin Luther), reveal a growing reflection in Lutheran terms within the Union on practice in social life.

In 1547 Augusta was forced to leave Leitomisch (Litomyšl) in Bohemia and moved to Moravia. In 1548 he was put in prison, remaining there for sixteen years. Olivetský was beheaded in 1547. Press freedom was restricted even in tolerant Moravia. This might explain the interest in printing Warnunge D. Martini Luther an seine lieben Deudschen (1531, WA 30/III:276–320; Vejstraha Doktora Martina Luthera k svejm milejm Němcom). The last known such translation of Luther is the Foreword to the Postilla Deudsch (WA 53:216–218), published in Czech translation in Postilla česká, printed in Prossnitz in 1546 and reprinted in Nürnberg in 1553, 1557, and 1566.

The immediate results of this rapprochement was that the Union started to put more stress on proper theological education. A steady stream of Brethren students matriculated in Wittenberg, especially after 1549.

German Population

Chronologically the first and theologically the most successful encounter with Reformation theology in Bohemia occurred in the German-speaking population, predominantly in north and northwest Bohemia.27 Thank to newly opened silver mines undertaken by the Saxon Lutheran population, a thriving economy developed in this region. The spread of reformation was supported by the patronage of noble families (Vitzthum, Redern, Schlick, von Bühnau, von Schleinitz, Pflug von Rabstein) and led to rather disconnected reformations in this region: “Their relative autonomy had allowed them to patronize, protect, and even assume leadership roles among the Utraquists, the Union and the new evangelical movements growing in the Czech lands.”28 It is necessary to mention Hans Friedrich and Wolf von Saalhausen. They originated in Saxony and moved to north Bohemia, on the border with Lusatia, in 1516.29 The area of Loket, Jáchymov (founded in 1516 by Sebastian Schlick, and from 1520 onward a free royal mining town) first developed into a real center of Lutheranism in Bohemia. The first Lutheran preacher in Elbogen (Loket) is mentioned already in 1521. Schlick pushed for church reform on his family’s estates, giving priority to the gospel. In 1521/1522 the oldest church order in Bohemia, the Elbognische Kirchenordnung, was written by Wolfgang Rappolt. Luther’s dedication of his treatise Contra Henricum regem Angliae30 to Count Sebastian Schlick demonstrates a constant and mutual interaction with Wittenberg. In 1520/1521 Christopf Schlick, a cousin of Sebastian, became rector of the University in Wittenberg. Ten years later in 1530, Luther dedicated to the counts of the Schlick family his treatise Gegen die Wiedertäufer und Sacramentarier, which led to the expulsion of Anabaptists and Calvinists from Joachimsthal. Wolfgang Schlick from Sokolov wrote to Luther about an apparent “Jewish Mission” in Moravia. Luther responded in 1538 with Brief wider die Sabbater an einen guten Freund (WA 50:312–337).

Royal towns like Leitmeritz (Litoměřice), Kaaden (Kadaň), Saaz (Žatec), Krupka, Chomutov, and Trutnov likewise accepted the Reformation early on. The curricula of their city schools were soon based on Reformation theology, after 1547 increasingly under Philippist influence. The Protestant school in Joachimsthal became the leading school of Lutheranism in Bohemia. It was led by the excellent preacher and theologian Johannes Mathesius (1545–1565). Born in Chomutov, from 1521 on he stayed in Wittenberg and became a close collaborator of Luther and Matthaeus Aurogallus. He took part in recording Luther’s table talks and became the first biographer of Luther, writing that work in the form of a collection of sermons. His excellence was demonstrated during 1532–1540 when he served as rector of the school of Joachimsthal.31


The margravate of Moravia was fully incorporated in the Bohemian crown, but politically the Moravian estates preserved their independence from Bohemia, and all institutions were controlled by the magnates. In Moravia the Hussite movement was not as strong as in Bohemia. The Council of Basel had included Moravia in the Compacts, the Utraquist Church was legally recognized there, and the majority of the people adhered to the Utraquist confession. In 1525 Utraquists from Prague fled to Moravia. In 1526 reformist Utraquists and Lutheran and Zwinglian ministers met at Nikolsburg (Mikulov) and strove—unsuccessfully—for unity. Yet with few exceptions, the Utraquist church in Moravia adhered to the Lutheran Reformation during the second half of the 16th century.

The Brethren Union32 had its center in Prerau (Přerov) and in Eibenschitz (Ivančice pri Brne). After the misled uprising of Bohemian estates in 1547, many Brethren from Bohemia immigrated to Moravia, where, for example, a new congregation arose in Ungarisch Brod (Uherský Brod). Worth mentioning is Jan Blahoslav, elected bishop in 1558. He studied in Wittenberg in 1544, knew Luther, and became acquainted with Melanchthon. With him we see a shift of interest in the Union to southern Germany and Geneva, which led to a synthesis of the Czech reformation with influences from the German and Swiss reformations.

In Moravia, likewise, the German population was open to reformation, but Moravia differed from Bohemia in that the precursors of reformation were not the noble estates, but the predominantly German-speaking royal towns (Brno, Olomouc, and Třebová). Most of the German-speaking parishes in Moravia became Lutheran.33 Even in Olmütz, the seat of the bishop and cathedral chapter, there was a Lutheran preacher from 1525 on. From 1538 on, German Lutheran schools appeared. In 1551 Johann Guenther set up an evangelical printing house, despite the fact that another evangelical printer, Jan Olivetanský, had been beheaded in 1547 for his Protestant convictions.

What Joachimsthal was in Bohemia, Iglau was in Moravia. Paul von Spretten (Speratus), author of the Hymn Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, undertook correspondence with Luther in May and June 1522. This former preacher in the cathedral of Würzburg made a stop in Iglau in 1522 on his way from Vienna to Wittenberg and was persuaded by the magistrate to stay. After a year, however, he was exiled; later he became the first bishop of Prussia. Iglau became one of the first and largest centers of the Lutheran movement in Moravia.

To summarize, the period 1520–1620 represents a golden age for the Lutheran reformation in the kingdom of Bohemia, even if it existed in the context of confessional plurality.34 Lutheranism did not manage to act as a unifying ideological force among the non-Catholic estates.

Only in 1575 did reformist Utraquists, Bohemian Brethren, and Lutherans agree on a common confession: the Confessio Bohemica, based on the Confessio Augustana.35 The author was Bohuslav Felix Hasištejnský from Lobkovic, a proponent of the acceptance of the Confessio Augustana in Bohemia. It contained a Lutheran articulation of justification by faith (Article 8), with one article on the necessity of good works (Article 10).36 However, this confession was not recognised by the emperor until a “Letter of Majesty” issued by Rudolf II in 1609, granting all parties equal legal status in Czech lands; thus the Lutherans also managed to organise themselves into a common ecclesiastical order.

There are twenty-three known translations. Rudolf II’s “Letter of Majesty” enabled the creation of the evangelical church, a federation of Utraquist, Lutheran, and Brethren parishes. A decisive breach, indeed catastrophe, for Protestants in Bohemia came with their expulsion and exile after the battle of White Mountain in 1620. The edict Obnovení zřízení zemského in 1627 brought about a practical destruction of the Lutheran and other non-Roman Catholic churches in Bohemia and Moravia.

In the period 1627–1781, Lutheranism practically disappeared from the public space. In this time of “darkness,” there was no place for any translation of Luther’s treatises. After the tolerance edict of 1781, Lutheranism reappeared, unifying Czech, German, Polish, and even Slovak traditions. Full acceptance was guaranteed first by the Protestant Patent in 1861. The Czech line of Lutheranism became weaker, however, despite all efforts to strengthen the confessional character of the church in the second half of the 19th century.37 After the union with Czech Calvinists, the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (Českobratrská Církev Evangelická, ČCE) was created in December 1918. After World War II, following the expulsion of the German population, the German Lutheran church ceased to exist here. Lutheran spirituality in the territory of the present Czech Republic is preserved by the Silesian Evangelical Church (Slezská Evangelická Církev) and, renewed in 1989, the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic.

After the 16th century, the 20th century was the second most productive in translating Luther’s treatises, yet this work amounts still to just a fraction of the productivity in the 16th century: the Small Catechism (1947), and Von den Guten Werken and Ein kleiner Unterricht, was man in den Evangelien suchen und erwarten soll (1987). At present it is predominantly the work of the Lutherova Společnost, affiliated with Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in the Czech Republic, which has begun a remarkable publishing effort, promoting Lutheran treatises through new editions of older translations of Luther, along with new translations and theological texts related to his theology: Von den Schlüßeln and De ecclesia (2005). In 2008 the largest collection of eleven smaller treatises of Luther appeared.38

Most of the reception of Luther in the 20th century appears through historical research. An overview of historians who dealt with connection between Luther and Bohemia is presented by Michael Rohde (2007).39 A substantial portion of the theological reception of Luther happens at the Evangelical Theological Faculty of Charles University in Prague. Several editions and reprints of earlier translations have been published.

The first translation of the Augsburg Confession was done in 1576 in Velké Meziříčí. A complete edition of the Formula of Concord was published in 200640 as a project of the Silesian Evangelical Church. Since the Utraquists provided their own catechism, there was no need to translate Luther’s catechisms. The first translation of the Small Catechism appeared in 1572, and the Pacovský translation in 1630, 1738, and 1782. Similarly, owing to a strong hymnological tradition apart from Lutheran hymnology, especially in Joachimsthal, the first translations of Luther’s hymns appeared in the 17th century.


The Reformation in the territories of Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) began in the first half of the 16th century, during the reign of Louis II Jagiello (1516–1526).41 The first Reformation synod in Prešov (1546) introduced revisions in teaching, liturgy, and church structure according to the Augsburg Confession and Melanchthon’s Loci communes, even though the process of developing distinctive Lutheran church institutions was relatively slow and took another fifty years. Three early Lutheran confessions (the Confessio Pentapolitana in 1549, the Confessio Montana in 1559, and the Confessio Scepusiana in 1569),42 originated predominantly from the German population living in this area. Nevertheless, Hungarians and Slovaks also had an important role in the process of confessionalization.

The decisive moment changing the political and military balance in east-central Europe was the battle of Mohács on August 29, 1526. The army of Louis II was defeated by the Turks; more than three-quarters of the Hungarian army died, among them the archbishops of Esztergom and Kalocsa and five bishops (out of twelve bishops in the kingdom). The defeat led to the subsequent division of the territory of the Holy Crown of Hungary into three parts: the central part of Hungary remained under Ottoman control; royal Hungary shrank to northern and western Hungary; and Transylvania was ruled by vassal princes. Whereas in Transylvania religious freedom was based upon legal confirmation of the privileges of Transylvanian princes, a strong central controlling power in the area of Habsburg Hungary was lacking.

The initial strict measures against reformist preachers from the early 1520s could not be applied. Apparently, already in 1521 there were Lutheran preachers in Buda (Ofen), such as Simon Grynaeus, a former professor at Vienna and later reformer in Württemberg. Thomas Preisner of Lubica in the area of Kežmarok read Luther’s Ninety-five Theses from his pulpit in 1521. In August 1522 the prior of the monastery of Königsstein near Dresden sent some treatises by Luther to the minister of Banská Štiavnica. In 1522 the city council of Trnava dealt with a Lutheran preacher and composer of hymns, Matej Nagybánscai. This influence also confirms the fact that the Diet in Buda had issued, already in April 1523 and later in 1525, severe punishments for Lutherans, designated as “notorious heretics,” threatening the death penalty and confiscation of property.

Until midcentury, the Reformation in Hungary proceeded slowly. It was first supported by Germans living in the cities and among the German court circle of Mary of Habsburg.43 An important role was played by Markgrave George of Brandenburg (1484–1543), the morum formator of Louis, an advisor to Mary. He controlled a large number of estates in Hungary, Bohemia, Silesia, and Germany and supported the Reformation. In 1523 he wrote to Luther with theological questions.44

Maria II of Hungary,45 sister of Ferdinand Habsburg, called Conrad Cordatus (1476–1546) to Buda as court preacher. Cordatus, a member of a Waldensian-Hussite family from Krems (in present-day Austria), is an interesting figure of the early Reformation era. After a short stay in Upper Hungary (at Liegnitz), he became pastor in Eisleben (1527) and later superintendent in Stendal (1540). He is famous for his collection of the table talks of Luther, his diary about Luther, and a publication of the German Postil with a foreword by Melanchthon in 1554. His participation in the dispute with Melanchthon and Cruciger, begun in 1536, about the so-called conditio sine qua non of good works, was crucial.46 Another Lutheran pastor in Buda was Johannes Kresling (d. 1549), later preacher in Silesia and the royal mining towns of Upper Hungary. After the dismissal of Cordatus and Kresling from Buda, they were replaced by Johannes Henckel (1481–1539); from 1513 he was city priest in Leutschau in Zips, and from 1522 pastor in Kaschau. After the death of Louis II, Luther wrote and dedicated an explanation of four psalms of comfort (37, 62, 94, 109) to Queen Mary in 152647; despite this, she did not openly convert to Lutheranism.

A second important space for the spread of reform is represented by the free royal and royal mining cities. In Hungary religious freedom was granted to troops stationed in Hungarian border fortresses (Ráb, Komárno, Nové Zámky, and Visegrád, with German Lutheran commanders such as the count of Salm, Hans Katzianer, and Wilhelm Freiherr zu Roggendorf),48 and to market towns under the crown as well. For example, the seven free royal mining towns in Lower Hungary (Dilln, Seunich, Bugganz, Lubeta, Kremnitz, Neusohl, and Schemnitz) represented economic centers of the kingdom, owing to extensive gold, copper, and silver mining there. These cities were multinational, with self-confident, predominantly German citizens. Thanks to extensive privileges, their city councils held “rights to determine matters that fell under the jurisdiction of the church which took place within the town limits…. Town councils were involved in choosing and paying for the services of Hungarian- or Slovak-speaking pastors and preachers.”49

Important Lutheran preachers in the time of the early Reformation were Johannes Henkel (Levoča, Košice, Breslau), Wolfgang Schustel (Bardejov), Georg Baumheckel, Georg Leudischer (Levoča, Kežmarok), Thomas Preisner (Kežmarok, Lubica), and Lorenz Quendel Serpilius (Lubica).

Besides preachers and teachers, even town mayors often supported reform. In Banská Bystrica (Neusohl), for example, mayor Henrik Kindlinger was an advocate of reform. He invited John Kressling and Conrad Cordatus to preach in the city. In Leutschau town mayor Gregor Mild Kynast promoted Luther’s teaching already in 1524. In Bratislava, the magistrate publicly displayed Luther’s Ninety-five Theses in 1527. Town councils financially supported students in Wittenberg: George Baumheckel from Banská Bystrica and Martin Ciriak from Levoča were the first students from Hungary at the University of Wittenberg in 1522.50 In Upper Hungary a general acceptance of reform in the cities occurred from 1540 on, and in West Hungary and Transylvania from 1550 on.

In distinction from western Europe, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary were from the Middle Ages onward dominated by a strong, independent higher nobility, alongside the lower nobility. After the battle of Mohacs, support for reform increased among the estates. Based on the ius patronatus and ius praesentandi, the noble families were the worldly lay chairmen of the churches; they founded and supported schools and awarded stipends for studies abroad, and they invited Lutheran preachers.51 As Márta Fata writes, “By the middle decades of the 16th century a large proportion of the nobility already subscribed to the cause of reform.”52

In 1535 the magnate Thomas Nádasdy became strong supporter of the Lutheran Reformation. For several generations the Nádasdy family was the protector of the Reformation, especially in West Hungary and Burgenland, but in 1554, when Thomas Nádasdy became Palatine (Nádor), a very suitable situation for Lutherans in Upper Hungary also emerged. Nádasdy financed evangelical schools and the printing of the New Testament in a Hungarian translation by the humanist teacher, translator, and printer Johann Sylvester. At his estates in Sárvár, Nádasdy supported the Lutheran preacher Matthias Dévai Biró (1500–1545). Biró—called the “Hungarian Luther”—took a middle position theologically between Luther and Melanchthon,53 and from 1529 he was in Wittenberg as a guest of Luther. Back in Hungary in 1531, he became the reformer in Buda and preacher for Hungarian people in Košice (Kaschau). Among his treatises, the Rudimenta salutis, some fifty-two theses on Lutheran teaching, and Sententiae de sanctorum dormitione deserve attention. He translated Luther’s Small Catechism in 1537, its first publication in Hungarian.

In Upper Hungary in Turiec, the Révay family played an important role. Count Ferenc Révay had become in 1542 the deputy of the Palatine of Hungary. In 1538 he turned directly to Martin Luther in a letter when doubts arose concerning the correctness of his understanding of the Lord’s Supper. He came under the influence of reformed views, but Luther tried to convince him to stay with the Lutheran position in two letters of August and October 1538.54 Theologically, the disputes in Slovakia concerning the concept of the Lord’s Supper were the most notable of the 16th century.55

Even though there is no overview of the nobility’s role in the Reformation available, it can be said that reform in Upper Hungary could not have survived without the strong support of noble families (Deršffy, Dobó, Czobor, Bánfy, Nyáry, Révay, Kostka, Radvansky, Thurzo, Balassy, and Ungnad/Sonnegg).56

The transition from reforming Catholic to the Reformation position was often steady, though it is not visible at first glance, as the evangelical preaching was mingled with Catholic elements. The demand to appoint preachers of the pure word of God after 1530 was replaced with emphasis on sola fide and demands for communion in both kinds. While in the first two decades of the Reformation the changes were mostly of internal matters, such as evangelical preaching and Lutheran teaching, from 1540 nobles and towns added more public religious changes: the abolition of the Mass, communion in both kinds, and married priests. Only with that did the Lutheran congregations become more visible.

Subsequent developments changed the situation only slowly. Despite the legislation of Ferdinand from August 20, 1527 in Buda, mandating strict adherence to the edict of the Diet of Worms, few measures against Lutherans could be taken. For example, on August 28, 1527 in Komitat Sohl, a Lutheran preacher called Gregori and a Lutheran director of the school in Lubietová (Liebethen), Philipp Nicolai, were executed. In Buda a bookseller Gregori was burned at stake for his Lutheran beliefs. At the Hungarian Diet at Pressburg in 1548, eight laws for church reform were adopted. Among other decrees, they called for the expulsion of all preachers ordained abroad (i.e., Wittenberg) and not installed by Catholic bishops. This triggered the creation of three Upper Hungarian confessions based on the Confessio Augustana57 with clear differentiation from Sacramentariers and Anabaptists.58

In Upper Hungary it was definitely the Small Catechism that became the best-known and most used of Luther’s writings in the Lutheran Church. Up to 2013 there were more than 300 printed versions of the Small Catechism in Czech and Slovak, in various forms and variations. To this number can be added handwritten copies and manuscript translations.59 The way of Reformation in Upper Hungary was paved by translations of Luther’s Small Catechism. Leonhard Stöckel’s Leges scholae Bartphensis (1540), based on Unterricht der Visitatoren, an die Pfarrherren im Kurfürstentum Sachsen (1527), indicates that the Small Catechism was a required part of school curricula.60 Its oldest translation is the one mentioned in Šarišské články (1540), but there is no extant copy. Similarly, a possible Slovak printing from 1556 and a translation of Mikuláš Collaninus (before 1581) are no longer extant. The first extant printed version, from the press of David Gutgesell in Bardejov,61 is the so-called Bardejov Catechism (1581), which is “the oldest known Slovak book printed in the area of present Slovakia.”62

Theological dependence on the position of Wittenberg63 in the second half of the 16th century was soon replaced by quarrels between Philippists and Flacians, and between Lutherans and Calvinists (for example, preacher Ján (d. 1533) in Sabinov, or debates in Kežmarok between Gregor Horváth Stanšič and Sebastian Ambrosius; similarly, Leonard Stöckel and Michal Radašín debated with Gregor Szegedi from Košice).

New impetus to Lutheran thought came with refugees from Bohemia after the defeat at White Mountain. Utraquists found supporters among the Lutheran nobility and in cities. They settled in Nitra and Trenčín, but also in the east and northeast of the country. Members of the Brethren Union settled mainly in the western and northwestern regions, close to the border with Moravia, in towns such as Púchov and Lednica, but also in Markušovce in the Spiš region.64 One of the most prominent exiles was Jan Amos Comenius.

King Rudolf II pushed for the reinstatement of anti-Lutheran laws, with punishments including the death penalty, which led to the victorious uprising of Stefan Bocskai (1604–1606), and acceptance of the Pressburg laws in 1608, favorable to Protestants and confirming to the nobility the right of free exercise of religion. After the death of Palatine Stefan Ilészházi in 1609, Georg Thurzo became the new Palatine of the Hungarian kingdom. This created a favorable situation for legal constitution of the Lutheran Church in Hungary. This happened at the synod in Žilina in March 1610, and in January 1614 at the synod in Zipser Kapitel.65 Through the theological efforts of Severín Škultéty, fighting for the communicatio idiomatum, the Book of Concord was adopted (its binding significance was confirmed later at the synod in Ružomberok in 1707). The Bible and Confessio Augustana Invariata were confirmed as the foundation for public teaching and the private life of the superintendent.66

Re-Catholicization broke out violently with the so-called Ferenc Wesselényi conspiracy in 1670 and lasted almost twenty years. It arose anew during the reign of Charles III (1711–1740). In the time of the Counter-Reformation there was no real space for reflection on Luther’s theology. In the 16th and 17th centuries there were no translations of Luther’s treatises into Slovak. Besides the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism, it was Tranovsky’s so-called Citara sanctorum that became the main source of Lutheran spirituality and theology in Lutheran Church of Upper Hungary. In 1636 Juraj Tranovský published this hymnbook, which became the most frequently edited Slovak book ever. It was first printed in Levoča by Vavrinec Brewer, and up until the new Slovak Church hymnal in 1993 it was edited and printed more than 200 times. The first edition included twenty-nine hymns by Martin Luther, translated by Juraj Tranovský, who had at his disposal a complete Jena edition of Luther’s works. Some prayers of Luther were also translated in the 17th century and printed in Phiala odoramentorum, edited by Tranovský (1635, 1647, 1685) and reprinted in various church journals.

Renewed Luther Reception in the Time of Unionism

Toward the end of the 18th century, a translation of Luther’s Testament appeared in Banská Bystrica in 1785. The time was not favorable to translations. The pastoral leaders of the church were able to read Luther’s treatises in original languages, and the general public could not deal with theological reflections on Luther’s thought. In the mid-19th century there arose in Hungary a tendency toward union between the Reformed and Lutheran churches. The aim was to create “one homeland—one language—one nation,” a movement represented in the person of Count Károly Zay, inspector general (Generalinspektor) of the Lutheran church.67 At that time the Reformed were mostly of Hungarian nationality, while the Lutherans were of German and Slovak nationality. On the side of Slovaks a strong anti-unionist position developed under the leadership of Josef Miloslav Hurban.68 Hurban was the leader of the Slovak national movement, a co-founder of the Slovak literary language, and a confessionally Lutheran theologian.69

He reflected on Luther’s theology in treatises like Union, oder die Vereinigung der Lutheraner und Kalvinisten in Ungarn (1846). His struggle against the liberal Hungarian unionism in order to preserve the integrity of confessional Slovak Lutheranism70 meant preservation of the authority of the Confessio Augustana invariata. To his important theological works belong his Lutheran dogmatics Oswědčení Ewanjeliků Nezměneného Augsspurského Wyznání, (1862, CA invariata, the Confession of the Lutherans) and Církew ewanjelicko-lutheránská (1861, The Evangelical-Lutheran Church). The result was that the union was never established.

This triggered a growing interest in translating Luther’s works as well. In the second half of the 19th century a number of different works were printed, some multiple times. The Ninety-five Theses were printed three times (1860, 1880, after 1880). An Bürgermeister, Rat und Gemeinde Mühlhausen appeared in 1866, and Eine einfältige Weise zu beten, für einen guten Freund in 1897. Two editions of Luther’s Confession from 1529 (1898, 1899) were printed in Ružomberok. Worth mentioning also is a selection from Aurifaber’s collection of table talks related to the Word of God and the Bible, printed in 1898.

In the 20th century, three major projects endeavored to translate Luther. A selection of Luther’s reform writings was published in 1903 in Bekešská Čaba. These included Ein Sermon von dem hochwürdigen Sakrament des heiligen wahren Leichnahms Christi und von den Brüderschaften (1519), Sermon von dem Bann (1520), Wider die Bulle des Endchrists (1520), Von den guten Werken (1520), and On Christian Liberty (1520). The second major project was the translation of Luther’s Hauspostille (Domová postila) (1544). This, the longest single work by Luther to be published in Slovak, was translated by Miloslav Križan and printed in Myjava in 1920. An overview of the Luther’s treatises up to 1961 was compiled by Jan Petrík.71

The greatest variety of Luther’s writings was published in an anthology produced collaboratively by prominent theologians and church representatives and appeared in 1983 in conjunction with the 500th anniversary of Luther’s birth.72 This anthology contains Luther’s treatises Ninety-five Theses, On Christian Liberty, Von den Schlüsseln, Ein Sermon von dem heiligen hochwürdigen Sakrament der Taufe. Die sieben Bußpsalmen, Preface to the Old Testament and Preface to the Letter of Romans, Auslegung des 17 Kapitels des Evangelisten Johannis, Eine einfältige Weise zu beten, für einen guten Freund, Vermahnung und kurze Deutung des Vaterunsers, and selections from Von Kaufhandlung und Wucher. The volume also contains a selection of Luther’s sermons, a selection of his prayers, and table talks. Of particular value is the translation of Luther’s letters to the area of Slovakia.

In the 20th century, in addition to the three major projects named above, Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were translated in 1903, 1937, and 1954; his Confession in 1908, the Explanation of the Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew in 1905, the New Year’s Sermon from January 1, 153273, and several prayers. In 1958 a translation of a selection of Luther’s prefaces to certain biblical books appeared, based on the Calwer edition, volumes 4 and 5. Historically unique and ecumenically more than noteworthy is the translation of Luther’s Magnificat done by the Catholic theologians Irma Maria Danielisz and Ladislav Lenz, published in 2012.

Among church historians, names like Ján Kvačala74, Andrej Hajduk, and Daniel Veselý must be mentioned. In the United States, David Daniel contributed mostly to the development of Reformation history in Slovakia. Recent biographies of Luther are translations of foreign authors: Hans Schwarz (1999), Herbert Bainton (1999), and James Kittelson (2016), and a Luther biography by Heinz Schilling is planned.

Recent reception of Luther’s works is reflected predominantly in work done at the Evangelical Lutheran Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava. The most extensive work has been done by Igor Kišš, especially in the area of Luther’s teaching of two realms and a social ethics. Paul has Hinlicky highlighted the ecumenical relevance of Luther’s theology in the Lutheran and Roman Catholic dialogue.75 Recently, Ľubomír Batka has reflected on Luther’s teaching on sin and natural law. Selected works of Luther were translated at the Evangelical Lutheran Faculty under the close supervision of Ľubomír Batka: De servo arbitrio, Ninety-five Theses, the Heidelberg Dispute, Sermo de duplici iustitia, and Sermo de triplici iustitia.

Directions for future research must include the history of the Reformation in the broadest spectrum of topics, especially the time before the Counter-Reformation. There is a need for continuous work in translating Luther’s treatises, especially from the time of reformational breakthrough, work that has already been started by the young generation of graduate students from Slovakia, Vojvodina, and Rumania at the Evangelical Lutheran Faculty. However, a major need is for work in the area of Lutheran ethics with application to given contexts.

Further Reading

Brecht, Martin. Martin Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation 1521–1532. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994. See esp. 72–77.Find this resource:

Daniel, David P. “The Lutheran Reformation in Slovakia 1517–1620.” PhD diss., The Pennsylvania State University, 1972.Find this resource:

Daniel, David P. “Lutheranism in the Kingdom of Hungary.” In Lutheran Ecclesiastical Culture, 1550–1675. Edited by Robert Kolb, 455–507. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.Find this resource:

Fabini, Tibor. “Luthers Beziehungen zu Ungarn und Siebenbürgen.” In Vierhundertfünfzig Jahre lutherische Reformation 1517–1967: Festschrift für Franz Lau zum 60. Geburtstag. Edited by Helmar Junghans, 643–646. Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1967.Find this resource:

Schwarz, Karl, and Peter Švorc. Die Reformation und ihre Wirkungsgeschichte in der Slowakei. Kirchen- und konfessionsgeschichtliche Beiträge. Vienna: Evangelischer Presseverband, 1996.Find this resource:

Thomson, Harrison S. “Luther and Bohemia.”Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 44.1/2 (1953): 160–181.Find this resource:


(1.) František Šmahel, Die hussitische Revolution (3 vols.; Hannover: Hahn, 2002).

(2.) Phillip Haberken, “The Lands of the Bohemian Crown: Conflict, Coexistence, and the Quest for the True Church,” in A Companion to the Reformation in Central Europe, eds. Howard Louthan and Graeme Murdock (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015), 11–39.

(3.) Natalia Nowakowska, “Reform before Reform? Religious Currents in Central Europe, c. 1500,” in A Companion to the Reformation in Central Europe, eds. Howard Louthan and Graeme Murdock (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015), 121–143, here 130.

(4.) Rudolf Říčan, Die Böhmischen Brüder: Ihr Ursprung und ihre Geschichte (Berlin: Union Verlag, 1961); and Jarold Knox Zeman, The Anabaptists and the Czech Brethren in Moravia 1526–1628 (Paris: Mouton, 1969).

(5.) Winfried Eberhard, “Bohemia, Moravia and Austria,” in The Early Reformation in Europe (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 23–48, here 27. Cf. S. Harrison Thompson, “Luther and Bohemia,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 44 (1953): 160–181; and Frederich Heymann, “The Impact of Martin Luther upon Bohemia,” Central European History 1 (1968): 107–130.

(6.) For Luther’s position to Hus see Lubomir Batka, “Jan Hus’ Theology in a Lutheran Context,” Lutheran Quarterly 1 (2009): 1–28. Martin Wernisch, “Luther und Hus,” Communio Viatorum 3 (2015): 272–283.

(7.) LW 48, Letters I, ed. G. G. Krodel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1963), 153, cf. 155; WA BR 2:42, 22–24, Letter to Spalatin, no. 254 (14 February): “Ego imprudens hucusque omnia Iohannis Huss et ducui et tenui. Docuit eadem imprudentia et Iohannes Staupitz. Breviter: summo., Nus omnes Hussitae ignorantes.” Luther’s later positive judgment on Hus in WA 50:34, 9–16.

(8.) Luther’s positive judgment in WA 6:587, 21–588, 3.

(9.) WA 6:454, 17–19.

(10.) WA BR 1:341: “What Jan Hus once was to Bohemia, you, Martin, are now to Saxony.”

(11.) Eberhard, “Bohemia, Moravia and Austria,” 29.

(12.) WA 12:177–178.

(13.) WA 12:169–195; LW 40:7–59.

(14.) Ota Halama, Martin Luther: O ustanovení služebníků církve (Prague: ETF UK, 2012). Apparently it was an illegal printing and Burián Sobek became imprisoned for that. The Latin text was translated into German by Paul Speratus in 1524.

(15.) In October 1524 Luther wrote a consolatory letter to Burian Sobek from Kornice: Christo captivo et servo fideli, Domino Buriano de Skornicz, secretario Pragensi, meo in Domino carissimo (WA BR 3:363–364, no. 786).

(16.) Rudolf Říčan, “Melanchthon und die böhmischen Länder.” In Philipp Melanchthon, Humanist, Reformator, Praeceptor Germaniae, ed. Melanchthon-Komitee der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1963), 237–260.

(17.) Rudolf Říčan, “Tschechische Übersetzungen von Luthers Schriften bis zum Schmalkaldischen Krieg,” in Vierhundertfünfzig Jahre lutherische Reformation 1517–1967: Festschrift für Franz Lau zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Helmar Junghans (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1967), 282–301; and Martin Luther, Kdybych měl nekonečně světů výbor z díla I. Martin Luther, ed. and trans. Hana Volná and Ondřej Macek (Prague: Lutherova Společnost, 2008), 223–228. Cf. the database of the National Library in Czech Republic.

(18.) Siegfried Hoyer, “Luther und die Häresien der Mittelalters,” in 450 Jahre Reformation, eds. Leo Stern and Max Steinmetz (Berlin: Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1967), 89–101, here 96; and Amedeo Molnár, “Luther und die Böhmischen Brüder,” Communio Viatorum 24 (1981): 47–67.

(19.) Eberhard, “Bohemia, Moravia and Austria,” 28: “Around 1520 both Hussite Confessions were engaged in a search for identity amongst their own roots, and this made it hard for them to assimilate new stimuli from outside.”

(20.) František Bartoš, “Das Auftreten Luthers und die Unität der Böhmischen Brüder,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 31 (1934): 103–120.

(21.) Zeman, Anabaptists, 73. Cf. Molnár Amedeo, “Zum Gespräch zwischen Luther und den Böhmischen Brüdern,” in Und fragten nach Jesus: Festschrift für Ernst Barnikol zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Ernst Bammel (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1964), 177–186.

(22.) WA BR 2:529–532, no. 491 (16 May 1522).

(23.) Zeman, Anabaptists, 206.

(24.) To Bishop Benedikt Bavoryňský, WA BR 7:176f., no. 2189 (18 April 1535); Brethren in Moravia, WA BR 7:584–585, no. 3101 (5 November 1536); Leitomischl, WA BR 8:160–161, no. 3195 (8 December 1537); and Bishop J. Augusta, WA BR 10:500–501, no. 2094 (5 October 1542).

(25.) WA 38:78–80 and WA 50:379f. The preface of Luther was translated into Czech and printed in the new edition in 1561.

(26.) Říčan, “Tschechische Übersetzungen,” 289.

(27.) Petr Hlaváček, “Catholics, Utraquists and Lutherans in Northwestern Bohemia,” in Public Communication in European Reformation, eds. Milena Bartlová and Michal Šroněk (Prague: AV ČR, 2008), 279–297.

(28.) Haberken, Lands of the Bohemian Crown, 32. Similarly Peter Barton, Die Geschichte der Evangelischen in Österreich und Südostmitteleuropa (Vienna: Evangelischer Presseverband in Österreich, 1985), 153.

(29.) Cf. WA 15:226–228; WA BR 3:324, no. 762; and WA BR 3:326, no. 765.

(30.) WA 10/II:180–222.

(31.) Christopher B. Brown, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

(32.) Erhard Peschke, Die Böhmischen Brüder im Urteil ihrer Zeit: Zieglers, Dungersheims und Luthers Kritik an der Brüderunität (Berlin: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1964), 109–120; and Bartoš František, “Das Auftreten Luthers und die Unität der Böhmischen Brüder,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 31 (1934): 103–120.

(33.) Zeman, Anabaptists, 245; and Josef Válka, “Tolerance or Co-Etistence? Relations between Religious Groups from the Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries,” in Between Lipany and White Mountain, ed. James Palmitessa (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014), 182–196, here 193.

(34.) Petr Hlaváček, “Otázníky nad luteránskou kulturou v předbělohorských Čechách,” in Umění české reformace (1380–1620), eds. Kateřina Horníčková and Michal Šroněk (Prague: Academia, 2010), 263–302; and Jiří Just, “Luteráni v našich zemích do Bíle hory,” in Luteráni v českých zemích v proměnách staletí, eds. Jiří Just, Zdeňek Nešpor, and Ondřej Matějka (Prague: Lutherova Společnost, 2009), 23–126.

(35.) Pavel Filipi, “Das Fehlen der Anathematisierungen in den reformatorischen Konfessionen tschechischer Herkunft,” in Christliche Traditionen zwischen Katholizität und Partikularität, ed. Leo Koffeman (Frankfurt a.M.: Lembeck, 2009), 75–84; Zdeněk V. David, “Utraquism, Lutherans, and the Bohemian Confession of 1575,” Church History 68.2 (1998): 294–336; and Amedeo Molnár, “Bekenntnisse der Böhmischen Reformation,” Communio Viatorum 23 (1979): 193–210.

(36.) English translation, Bohemian Confession.

(37.) Ondřej Matějka, “Čeští luteráni 1861–1918: od emancipace k unii,” in Luteráni v českých zemích v proměnách staletí, eds. Jiří Just, Zdeněk Nešpor, and Ondřej Matějka (Prague: Lutherova Společnost, 2009), 219–309, here 225–247.

(38.) Martin Luther, Kdybych měl nekonečně světů, trans. Hana Volná and Ondřej Macek, 230. Translations were compiled as a part of research project at the Evangelical Theological Faculty of the Charles University in Prague.

(39.) Michael Rohde, Luther und die Böhmischen Brüder nach den Quellen (Brno: L. Marek, 2007), 3–24.

(40.) Kniha Svornosti: Symbolické čili vyznavačské spisy evangelických církví Augsburského vyznání, eds. Petra Černá, Ondřej Macek, Světlana Dobešová Krynská, and Martin Wernisch (Prague: Kalich, 2006).

(41.) Viliam Čičaj, “Territory of the Present-day Slovakia in the 16th Century,” in Key Issues of Slovak and Hungarian History, eds. Štefan Šutaj et al. (Prešov: Universum, 2011), 59–75; and Márta Fata, Ungarn, das Reich der Stephanskrone, im Zeitalter der Reformation und Konfessionalisierung: Multiethnizität, Land und Konfession 1500 bis 1700 (Münster: Aschendorff, 2000).

(42.) Peter Kónya and Zoltán Csepregi, Drei lutherische Glaubensbekenntnisse aus Ungarn (Prešov: Vydavateľstvo Prešovskej Univerzity, 2013).

(43.) David Daniel, “Hungary,” in The Early Reformation in Europe, ed. Andrew Pettegree (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 56. Cf. Ján Kvačala, “Kráľovná Mária a jej účasť v dejinách reformácie,” Viera a veda 1 (1930): 10–22.

(44.) WA BR 3:8–10, no. 568 (5 January 1523).

(45.) David Daniel, “Piety, Politics, and Perversion: Noblewomen in Reformation Hungary,” in Women in Reformation and Counter-Reformation Europe, ed. Sherrin Marshall (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 67–88.

(46.) Answer in the Disputation of Petrus Palladius (1537): “Good words are necessary but not necessary for salvation” (WA 39/I:256, 15).

(47.) WA 19:542–615.

(48.) István Bitskey, “Začiatky reformácie v západnom Uhorsku,” in Leonard Stöckel a reformácia v strednej Európe, ed. Peter Kónya (Prešov: Vydavateľstvo Prešovskej Univerzity, 2011), 125.

(49.) Márta Fata, “The Kingdom of Hungary and Principality of Transylvania,” in A Companion to the Reformation in Central Europe, eds. Howard Louthan and Graeme Murdock (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015), 105.

(50.) Carl Eduard Förstemann, Album Academiae Vitebergensis: 1502–1560 (Leipzig, 1841), vol. 1, 112–113. Cf. WA TR 4, no. 3947.

(51.) Dagmar Kusendová and Mojmír Benža, Historický Atlas evanjelickej a.v. cirkvi na Slovensku (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 2011), 14.

(52.) Fata. “Kingdom of Hungary,” 96.

(53.) In 1544 the clergy from the area of Prešov complained to Luther that Biró shifted to a Calvinist position on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. Cf. Luther’s letter to the city council in Prešov, WA BR 10:643–645, no. 2206 (April 1544).

(54.) WA BR 8:258–261, no. 3246 (4 August 1538), and WA BR 8:296–298, no. 3236 (1 October 1538).

(55.) Andrej Hajduk, “Luther’s and Melanchthon’s Participation in Theological Disputes in Slovakia,” Communio viatorum 27 (1984): 153–160, here 155. Cf. WA TR 4, no. 4008; WA TR 4, no. 4020 (LW 54:311); Luther’s letter to the city council in Bardejov, WA BR 8:406–409, no. 3321 (17 April 1539). The theological discussion continued in the 1540s among Count Révay, L. Stöckel and D. Bíro. Cf. Andrej Hajduk, “Otázka Večere Pánovej u nás v 16. storočí,” in Evanjelická teológia na prahu nového storočia, ed. Dušan Ondrejovič (Bratislava: EBF UK, 2001), 101–112.

(56.) Barton, Geschichte der evangelischen, 148f.; and Daniel Veselý, Dejiny kresťanstva a reformácie na Slovensku (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 2004), 82.

(57.) David P. Daniel, “The Influence of the Augsburg Confession in South-East Central Europe,” Sixteenth Century Journal 11 (1980): 99–114.

(58.) Andrej Hajduk, “Dejiny ECAV na Slovensku v rokoch 1517–1610,” in Evanjelici v dejinách slovenskej kultúry, vol. 3, ed. Pavol Uhorskai (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius 2001), 14–25. On Anabaptism see Petr Ratkoš, “Die Anfänge der Wiedertäufertums in der Slowakei,” in Aus 500 Jahren deutsch-tschechoslowakischer Geschichte, eds. Karl Obermann and Josef Polišenský (Berlin: Rütten & Loenning, 1958), 41–59.

(59.) Miloš Kovačka, Bardejovský katechizmus z roku 1581 (Martin: SNK, 2013), 13.

(60.) Cf. Catechesis D. Leonarti Stöckelii pro iuventute barthphensis composita (Anno 1556), eds. Michal Valčo and Daniel Škoviera (Martin: SNK, 2014).

(61.) For a study of the development of printing houses see Gabriela Žibritová, “Najstaršie slovenské katechizmy: Vydavateľsko-tlačiarenská problematika,” Kniha 2001–2002 (Martin: SNK, 2002), 371–381. Cf. David P. Daniel, “Publishing the Reformation in Habsburg Hungary,” in Books Have Their Own Destiny: Essays in Honor of Robert V. Schnucker, ed. Robin B. Barnes (Kirksville, MO: Thomas Jefferson University Press, 1998), 47–60.

(62.) Kovačka. Bardejovský katechizmus, 254. Herzog Albrecht of Prussia permitted printing of the first Polish translation of the Small Catechism in Königsberg in 1530. Its first Latvian translation was printed in 1547 and is the oldest prose published in the Latvian language; likewise the first printed Estonian text is the Small Catechism, printed in 1535 in Niederdeutsch and in an Estish translation by Simon Wanradt aus Kleve (printed in Wittenberg). In Lithuanian, a so-called Handbuch—a liturgical order containing the Small Catechism and a hymnal—was printed in Königsberg, 1586/1587. In Transylvania, a Small Catechism printed in 1544 in Hermannstadt became the first text in Rumanian, translated by Philipp Maler. In 1559–1560, the second printing of the Small Catechism appeared, and in 1550 in Kronstadt Valentin Wagner translated the Small Catechism into Greek; the commentary to it was edited by Philipp Melanchthon.

(63.) Markus Hein, “Melanchthons Bedeutung für die Reformation in Ungarn,” in Philipp Melanchthon: Lehrer Deutschlands, Reformator Europas, eds. Irene Dingel and Armin Kohnle (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2011), 365–378.

(64.) Lenka Bobková, “The Exile,” in Between Lipany and White Mountain, ed. James Palmitessa (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014), 365–378, here 306; and J. P. Ďurovič, “Jednota na Slovensku in Jednota bratrská 1457–1957,” in Sborník k pětistému výročí založení, ed. Rudolf Říčan (Prague: Kalich, 1956), 239–264.

(65.) Miroslava Bodnárová, “Akty a závery - zákony a ustanovenia Spišskopodrahdskej synody z roku 1614,” in Rozpomienka na slávnosti 400. výročia Spišskopodhradskej synody, ed. Miloš Klátik (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 2015), 28–42, here 32–39.

(66.) David P. Daniel, “The Acceptance of the Formula of Concord in Slovakia,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 70 (1979): 160–177; and Miloš Kovačka, Akty a závery, zákony a ustanovenia Žilinskej synody (Martin: SNK, 2010), 35.

(67.) Eva Kowalská, “Ugrian Patriotism and Slovak Ethnic Identity,” in Key Issues of Slovak and Hungarian History, eds. Štefan Šutaj et al. (Prešov: Universum, 2011), 108–121.

(68.) Dušan Ondrejovič, “Über die Union in der Slowakei,” in Die Reformation und ihre Wirkungsgeschichte in der Slowakei, eds. Karl Schwarz and Peter Švorc (Vienna: Evangelischer Presseverband, 1996), 153–158.

(69.) Markus Hein, “Jozef Miloslav Hurban (1817–1888): Lutherischer Pfarrer, slowakischer Nationalheld und Doktor der Theologie in Leipzig,” in Christlicher Glaube und weltliche Herrschaft, ed. Michael Beyer (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2008), 267.

(70.) “From the national point of view, the Evangelical Church was comprised of three elements: the Slavic (mainly Slovak), the German and the Hungarian element, whereas religious people of Slovak nationality constituted the main part. The Evangelical Church was led by Hungarian representatives, supporters of the national policy of the government at the time, who aimed to create a unified Hungarian state with a unified Hungarian nation in the age concerned. This was the cause for another important factor which influenced the existence of the Evangelical Church—the effort to enforce Hungarization trends in the administration and operation of the Evangelical Church.” Miriam Viršinská, Evanjelická cirkev a.v. v Uhorsku a Slováci v druhej polovici 19. storočia (Martin: Matica Slovenská, 2011), 219.

(71.) Ján Petrík, “Československé preklady Lutehrových spisov,” Cirkevné listy 7–8 (1961): 113.

(72.) Martin Luther, Výber zo Spisov, eds. Ján Michalko and Rudolf Koštial (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 1982).

(73.) Gal. 3:23–29 from the Commentary on Galatians, 1535. Cf. Cirkevné Listy 1960/1, roč. 73, 2–3.

(74.) Ján Kvačala, Dejiny reformácie na Slovensku 1517–1711 (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 1935).

(75.) Paul R. Hinlicky, Budúcnosť cirkvi. Čo by pre nás mal znamenať luteránsko-katolícky dialóg? (Liptovský Mikuláš: Tranoscius, 1999).