Slovenia celebrating Reformation Day
The values of the Reformation movement are still relevant today, Prime Minister Miro Cerar highlighted in his message.
All the values that highlight the dignity of man and the well-being of society are especially important in this day and age, Cerar said, condemning any undermining of progress and negativism.
He sees today's holiday as a chance for reflection on the meaning of sovereignty and one's freedom to look for their path both spiritually and within the society.
"Slovenians have the know-how and courage to be prosperous and be even more prosperous in the future," Cerar said.
Reformation Day, which has been observed in Slovenia since 1992, marks the day in 1517 when German priest Martin Luther made public "The Ninety-Five Theses", which sparked the Protestant Reformation.
Although a predominantly Catholic country, Slovenia has celebrated Reformation Day as a national holiday since 1992 to remember a turbulent yet culturally rich period in the 16th century that produced the first book written in the Slovenian language.
During the second half of the 16th century Reformation ideas flourished in the lands that make up the present-day Slovenia.
The most prominent Slovenian Reformist was Primož Trubar (1508-1586), who wrote over 25 books, among them "Cathecism" (1550), the first book in Slovenian. "Cathecism", which was also the first printed Slovenian book, was complemented by Trubar's spelling book "Abecedarium".
Around 1580, the majority of townspeople and nobility in the predominantly Slovenian provinces of the Holy Roman Empire - Carniola, Styria and Carinthia - considered themselves Protestant, while the peasantry remained largely Catholic, in defiance of their feudal lords.
Protestantism caught on among the masses only in the north-eastern region of Prekmurje, which remains to this very day home to the majority of the around 20,000 Slovenian Protestants.
Prekmurje's "capital" Murska Sobota was also the location on Friday of this year's main national ceremony, featuring recitals and choir singing, wile honorary Lutheran Bishop Geza Erniša delivered the keynote address.
Like Cerar, he stressed that the Reformation movement had offered ideas that were still relevant today in religious and social senses and expressed the belief that Slovenians will opt for unity and dialogue.
Erniša will also deliver the keynote speech at tonight's ceremony at the home of Trubar in Rašica.
The Reformation movement had a significant influence on the culture, education and identity of Slovenians, Lutheran Bishop Geza Filo said in a recent interview with the STA. "For us Slovenians it was important because it gave us a name - Primož Trubar was the first to call us Slovenians in his first printed book," he said.
Viktor Žakelj, the president of the Protestant Association Primož Trubar, focused on Trubar in his Reformation Day comments for the STA, noting that although Trubar had been given his due in recent years, Slovenians were still too little aware of the historic role performed by him and his fellow reformers.
He argued that a collection of Trubar's work in the language of that time should be completed and also translated to present-day Slovenian to honour the efforts of the reformers.