lovak Lutherans carried meager but treasured
they emigrated fromtheir homeland
the new world during the
decades before World
They usually carried acopy of the "Kralice"
translation of the Bible
of their hymn book, the
They affectionately called this hymn book the
honor of J uraj T ranovsky, who compiledand published the first edition
Desite their now archaic language, the hymnswritten or translated
Tranovsky have been retained
the many editions of the hymn book.
has remained basic to the devotional
of manySlovak Lutherans for more than three centuries.Encapsulating
song and verse the spirit andcontent of the Lutheran Reformation, the
most enduring literary monument ofSlavic Lutheranism.
Juraj T ranovsky the "fatherof Slavic Lutheran hymnody" or
consider his work
rivaling that of his younger
no overstatement.Tranovsky used the Latin version of his name(customary among
educated of his day), GeorgTranosci. He was born on April
Tesin,Silesia, a city which today lies
the Czechoslovakborder with Poland. His father, Valentine, was acoppersmith who left his ancestral home
Trzanowiceto seek his fortune
and his wife, Hedviga Zentkovska, becamemoderately well-to-do
of several sons and
as V alentine's grandfather.At the time of Tranovsky's birth, Tesin was astaunchly Lu.theran city whose inhabitants were
an old Polish proverb: "As
as aLutheran from T esin." T ranovsky, enrolled
the Latingrammar school there, was soon recognized as a pupil
Pastor TimoteusLev can.
was decided that Tranovsky should study
age 12, he was sent to the Germanschool
remainedthere only briefly, for
1605, he had enrolled at thehumanist academy
Kolberg, Pommerania, whereValentine Scherping was rector.
native Polish and increased his mastery of both Germanand Latin.
cultivated his poetic skill
memorizing thepoems of Horace.
April 13, 1609, George,
matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. Duringhis
years at Wittenberg, Tranovsky absorbed theorthodox Lutheran theology ably taught
LeonhardHutter, whose book,
TheologyDerived from Sacred Scripture and the Book ofConcord,
was a popular theological text for twogenerations.After completing his formal studies at Wittenberg,T ranovsky accepted an assistant professorship at theevangelical school ofSt. Nicholas
the school's Christmas celebration
hecomposed a poem on the Nativity which manifested histalent for presenting Lutheran theology
poetic form.From March
he tutored the
Jiri of Svamberk at
southern Bohemia.But the growing influence of Calvinist theology
Bohemia led Tranovsky
accept a position as rectorof the school
eastern Moravia. Favorablyimpressing the Moravian nobleman Jetrich of Zerotin,Tranovsky,
1615, was called to be rector of theschool
Mezirici, about 20 miles northeast of Holesov,where he remained for
Mezirici were perhaps themost pleasant of his adult
May 26, 1615, he