The History of the Protestant Church in Slovenia
The history of Slovenia is not a history of great kings and nations. The small country has been part of various empires and dominions for centuries. Nevertheless, it retained its identity, language and culture.
First, a brief overview in numbers:
Population: 2 million
Denomination: 75% RC, 3% Serbian Orthodox, 2% Muslim, cca 1% Protestant Number of congregations: 14 Number of congregation members: cca.10.000
Synod: Presbyterial Synod
Bishop: Mag. Leon Novak
Slovenia, a small country with a colourful past
The history of Slovenia is not a history of great kings and nations. The small country has been part of various empires and dominions for centuries. Nevertheless, it retained its identity, language and culture. A milestone in this development was the time of the Reformation. Primus Trubar, Jurij Dalmatin, Stephan Küzmič and other Protestant pastors and writers gave the Slovenian people the first book (Catechism 1550), founded the written language with it and by publishing the first Slovenian grammar, and addressed the Slovenians for the first time as "Dear Slovenes" in the preface to the Gospel of Matthew in 1555.
The reformer Trubar worked in and out of Germany because of the persecution by the Roman Catholic Church of the time, had his works printed there, worked as a pastor in Germany for 20 years and was buried in Derendingen. His colleague Dalmatin also had the entire translation of the Bible printed in Wittemberg. On the other hand, the Reformers in Eastern Slovenia, who had studied in Halle, had also been assisted by their fellow believers from abroad in translating the catechisms and the NT. In the East there was lively intercourse and close relations on a cultural, confessional and economic level with the Kingdom of Hungary. All this indicates that we already know a very long and close tradition of cooperation and mutual support in and outside Slovenia. This mutual support, especially in the time of the Reformation and also afterwards, helped in the development of the Slovene language, literature, culture and identity through the literary works that were created. Nevertheless, the development was not negative, i.e. nationalistic.
After Slovenia's independence (1991), the role of the Protestant Church in the development of national identity was acknowledged by designating Reformation Day as a non-working day. This is honoured by a state celebration to which political, economic, cultural and embassy representatives are invited by the respective government and which is broadcast on national television.
The mission of the Protestant Church in Slovenia is to proclaim the Gospel, to call for reconciliation between God and people, but also among themselves, and to appeal to humanity and love of neighbour, although it is often in contrast to economic efficiency. As a caring community of believers, it seeks to fill the gaps in health and social services through its own diaconia. Although the time is difficult due to the Covid pandemic and the related problems, the Protestant Church in Slovenia tries to remain faithful to its mission even in this time and to realise it in daily life.