Anton Martin Slomšek

Anton Martin Slomšek

Bishop and spiritual leader in the 19th century.
Anton Martin Slomšek was born to a wealthy family some 100 km from Maribor in 1800. We don't know if he was a spoiled child. But certainly he must have fallen in love with at least 2 things very early: Slovenian language and Slovenian vine.

Since he became orphaned at 10, he started selling instructions to other kids to pay for his school. This got him to study philosophy in Ljubljana and in Croatian town of Senj. He was listening to philosophy classes together with France Prešeren, the most influencial slovenian poet.

At 17, he was earning money by translating medical recepies. Obviously he was living in times when being Slovenian became important. Schools were raised everywhere and learning language was one of main classes. Can you imagine what kind of feelings were raised deep inside Anton and his mates? Their horizons were broaden and they became smarter every day. Suddenly they realized that their mother language and nationality is not known to the world. Everybody knows Austria and German language but nobody in Paris or London knows Slovenia and Slovenian language.

From 1829 to 1838 Slomšek was spiritual leader in the christian seminary of Klagenfurt in Austria. He took this opportunity to translate books to Slovenian language, motivate and teach others about it. In the latter year he became the priest of Saldenhofen an der Drau.

In 1844 Slomšek moved to Sankt Andrä and headed the school of the Diocese of Lavant. He became a priest in Celje in 1846 and in the same year he was ordained Bishop of Lavant. In the following years Slomšek strove for the transfer of the See of Lavant from Sankt Andrä in eastern Carinthia to Maribor in Lower Styria, which he achieved in 1859. He strove for religious education and education in Slovene, writing numerous books on the matter.

Anton Martin Slomšek was considered an excellent preacher and a tireless and modest priest. He also wrote songs, some of which, such as the toast "En hribček bom kupil" (I Will Buy a Small Hill) have achieved widespread popularity and are still sung today.

Together with Andrej Einspieler and Anton Janežič, Slomšek was the co-founder of the Hermagoras Society, the oldest Slovene publishing house.

Anton Martin Slomšek died in Maribor in 1862.

In 1996, Slomšek was described as a "Venerable Servant of God" by Pope John Paul II. On 19 September 1999 John Paul II announced Slomšek's beatification in Maribor instead of Rome as is the usual custom.
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