Isaacus Rothovius

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Finnish postage stamp, 1933

Isaacus Rothovius (1572–1652) was the bishop of Turku (Sw. Åbo) from 1627–1652. He was born in Småland, and did not speak Finnish when he arrived in Turku. He also considered the Finns ( especially during the early years of his term) to be barbaric. Bishop Rothovius forced the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church and its priests to change several of their customs, such as reading different Bible passages from different sides of the church, and wearing colourful garments, which reminded him of Finland's Roman Catholic past. Bishop Rothovius's most notable achievements were his help in speeding up the translation of the entire Bible into Finnish (completed in 1642), and in changing the Turku Cathedral School into the Gymnasium of Turku (an upper secondary school) in 1630, and in supporting the establishment of the Academy of Turku (now the University of Turku) in 1640.