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Flacius Illyricus, Matthias

(Croatian: Matija Vlacic Ilir; Serbian: Matija Frankovic Ilir; 1520–75). B. Labin (It.: Albona), Istria (Illyria); studied in Venice under Baptista Egnatius (humanist; d. 1553); Baldo Lupetino (Baldus Lupetinus; relative of M. Flacius Illyricus) pointed him to M. Luther*; went to Augsburg 1539, then Basel, where he lived in the home of S. Grynäus (see Grynäus, 1); his 3-yr. “soul struggle” began at Basel; spent some time at Tübingen, where he lived with Matthias Garbitius. prof. Gk.; came to Wittenberg and into close contact with P. Melanchthon* and M. Luther 1541; cured of “soul struggle” ca. 1543 (in own opinion by ev. doctrine of justification); prof. Heb., Wittenberg, 1544.

After Augsburg Interim* (see also Lutheran Confessions, C 1) he wrote 3 tracts using pseudonyms Joannes Waremund (attacked emp.), Theodor Henetus (criticized Interim itself), and Christian Lauterwar (attacked canon of mass and J. Agricola*). After the Leipzig* Interim he pub. Wider den schnöden Teuffel under pseudonym Carolus Azarias (against the Interim). Left Wittenberg for Magdeburg 1549 and the Interimistic or Adiaphoristic Controversy (see Adiaphoristic Controversies, 1) began in earnest. Writings included Apologia ad scholam Vitebergensem in adiaphorum causa and De veris et falsis adiaphoris. Held interim introduced not only ceremonial but also doctrinal errors (see Adiaphoristic Controversies). At Magdeburg he began Ecclesiastica historia (“Magdeburg* Centuries”). His Catalogus testium veritatis appeared 1556. At Magdeburg he was also involved in other controversies that grew out of the Interimistic controversy. Against G. Major* and J. Menius* he contended that good works are not necessary to salvation (see Majoristic Controversy). Against A. Osiander* the Elder he urged that though the essential, eternal righteousness of Christ is not idle in redemption, it is not the righteousness that justifies (see Osiandrian Controversy). Against K. v. Schwenkfeld* he concentrated on the fact that the Holy Spirit employs the human word. While at Magdeburg he took part in attempts to reconcile warring parties within Lutheranism.

Prof. Jena 1557. Sharply criticized the Frankfurt* Recess 1558. At his prompting Duke John* Frederick II had the Konfutationsbuch* (polemical doctrinal statement upholding views of M. Flacius Illyricus and opposing G. Major, V. Strigel, adiaphorists [see Adiaphoristic Controversies], and others) drafted 1558–59. With his Refutatio propositionum Pfeffingeri de libero arbitrio 1558 he involved himself in the Synergistic* Controversy against J. Pfeffinger* and V: Strigel.* Opposed Strigel's views on free will in Weimar Disputation 1560; held that original sin is substantia, not accidens. The unevangelical methods of the Flacian Supt. Balthasar Winter at Jena and Flacius' uncharitable attitude led to his dismissal at Jena 1561. To Regensburg 1562; involved in further controversies; worked on “Magdeburg Centuries” and Clavis scripturae. Regensburg withdrew asylum for Flacius 1566; with 5 others he was called to Antwerp to organize ch. life. Opposed union formula with Ref.; insisted on disputation. Wrote Confessio ministrorum Jesu Christi, in ecclesia Antverpiensi, quae Augustanae Confessioni adsentitur. On arrival of Duke of Alba went to Frankfurt 1567, then Strasbourg; refused to sign Jakob Andreä's* articles for proposed union of Ger. chs. Gnesio-Luths. (including T. Hesshus* and J. Wigand*) and Andreä attacked Flacius' assertion that original sin is substantia. Forced to leave Strasbourg 1573; spent last yrs. in a former convent of White Ladies (also called Magdalens, or Penitents) at Frankfurt administered as a haven of refuge by Prot. prioress Katharina von Meerfeld. HR

See also Lexicons, B.

J. W. Preger, Matthias Flacius Illyricus und seine Zeit, 2 vols. (Erlangen, 1859–61); M. Mirkovic, Matija Vlacic Ilirik (Zagreb, 1960;) K. Heussi, Geschichte der Theologischen Fakultät zu Jena (Weimar, 1954); H. W. Reimann, “Matthias Flacius Illyricus,” CTM, XXXV (February 1964), 69–93.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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