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.
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);
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
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
(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.