Uppsala universitetsbibliotek

Unique Latvian catechism to the Vatican


Pope Franciscus has been given a facsimile of a unique Latvian catechism. The original is part of the special collections at Uppsala University Library.

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 only known copy is part of the collections at Uppsala University Library.

During his visit to the Vatican, the Latvian president Raimonds Vējonis met Pope Franciscus on June 2 this year. As a gift, he brought a bound facsimile of this catechism. The facsimile has been made and printed by the National Library of Latvia from a digital copy provided bu Digital Imaging at Uppsala University Library. The original is also available in digital form through Alvin – platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage: Catechismus catholicorum

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.

Apart from the copy in Uppsala fragments from the catechism have been found in Skara Diocesan Library. No other copies are known today.

Read more about this unique catechism at the Uppsala University Library’s website: Catechismus catholicorum