In 2008 Slovenia celebrated both the 500th anniversary of the birth of Primož Trubar and the presidency of the European Union. Many would say that’s a coincidence. But a good observer of historical circumstances would agree, without hesitation, that without Trubar Slovenes now would surely not be where they are today, namely in 2008 at the forefront of the European Union.
On this jubilee occasion, we can be forgiven for asking, does Slovenia know Trubar well enough? He’s known to almost everyone in Slovenia as the author of the first Slovene books, the founder of the standard Slovene language, and that he was probably the first one to call the people of his homeland “Slovenes”; that he helped to found the first Slovene “Provincial Estate School”; that he demanded Slovene elementary schools in every parish and education for all children, girls as well as boys, etc.
More or less we know about his work, but most of us don’t know how he thought, what inspired his life’s work. What did he believe? What drove him to do the things he did?
We’ll most easily find the answers to such questions by just listening to him. He gave us a rich inheritance of almost 30 books, in which he very clearly explains and decisively defends his faith; we have most of these books preserved in his original language, the most important of which have recently been published.
Trubar probably most clearly summarized and proclaimed the purpose of his working in the first sentence of his first book, the Catechism, published in 1550 (which you can see here in the original script):
“For all Slovenes I ask grace, peace, mercy and the true knowledge of God through Jesus Christ.”
The purpose of the Trubar Forum in celebrating the 500th anniversary of Trubar’s birth is to present Trubar to the wider Slovene public, specifically in the light of what inspired him in his work, what he believed, and what was it that he wanted for his “beloved Slovenes.”