Uppsala University Library

Catechismus Catholicorum

Catechismus Catholicorum, a unique catechism from 1585, is considered one of the eldest known printed books in the Latvian language. The book is of great importance for the study of the Latvian language.

The book is a translation of Petrus Canutius’ (1521-1597) Parvus catechismus catholicorum or Institutiones christianae pietatis printed in Vilnius by Daniel Lancicius. The Jesuit scholar Ertmannus Tolgsdorf (d. 1620) is considered to be the translator.

The printing was initiated by Jesuits residing in Vilnius at the time. It's a booklet in duodecimo format (12:o), in total 36 folios (A-F6). This book – taken by the Swedes from the Jesuit College in Riga in 1621 as war booty – was entitled Catechismus catholicus in an inventory of books from this Jesuit College by Johannes Bothvidi, later Bishop of Linköping. The books from Riga were presented to Uppsala University in 1622. Catechismus catholicorum is looked upon as a unique print that has been of great importance for the study of the Latvian language. It was also published in St. Petersburg in 1915 with comments by Professor E.A. Wolter.

The cathechism

Apart from the copy in Uppsala fragments from the catechism have been found in Skara Diocesan Library. The same Catholic text was translated into Swedish as early as 1579 by the Jesuit Pater Laurentius Nicolai Norvegus, active in Sweden – alias Kloster Lasse. The only known copy of this edition is held in Helsinki University Library.

The book has shelfmark: Utl.Rar. 174

Digital copy of Catechismus catholicorum


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