July 22, 2014

Adventists Present Croatian President With Unique Bible

Amid a bid to raise the
profile of the Bible in Croatia, two Adventist scholars have presented the East
European country’s president with a special edition of the Bible in the old Glagolitic

Croatian President Ivo
Josipović accepted the Bible containing the first five books of the New
Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts — during a private meeting at
his office in the country’s capital, Zagreb.

The translation was published
to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the first Croatian New
Testament, which was published in Glagolitic, the oldest known Slavic alphabet
dating to the 9th century. Croats used the alphabet until about 1800.

The book was presented by Dragutin
Matak, who directed the translation project and works as assistant
dean for development at Adventist-operated Adriatic Union College in Maruševec,
Croatia; and Nikolaus Satelmajer, who initiated the project and is a former Ministry magazine editor and associate
ministerial secretary for the Adventist world church. The two Adventists were
joined by two professors from the University of Zagreb, whose faculty carried
out the translation.

that the first part of the first Croatian New Testament has been republished,
we look forward to publishing the entire New Testament,” Satelmajer said last week by
e-mail. “This project gives us the opportunity to bring the Word of God to the
attention of leaders and the general public."

<strong>INSIDE ITS PAGES:</strong> Croatian President Ivo Josipović leafing through the Bible as the scholars who gave it to him look on in his office in Zagreb. Photo credit: Croatian presidential press service
<strong>MEETING THE PRESIDENT:</strong> Dragutin Matak, second left, holding two copies of the Bible published in Glagolitic, the oldest known Slavic alphabet dating to the 9th century. Photo credit: Croatian presidential press service
<strong>GROUP PHOTO:</strong> From left, Nikolaus Satelmajer, who initiated the project; Matak; Josipović; and two professors from the University of Zagreb, Mateo Žagar and Alojz Jembrih, posing in the president's office. Photo credit: Croatian presidential press service

Before being presented earlier this year to
Croatia’s president, a self-professed agnostic, the Bible was featured at eight
public events organized to commemorate the anniversary of the historic New

public has received it enthusiastically, and the academic community will use it
for many years for study purposes," Matak

The translation was published
by Adriatic Union College, the University of Zagreb, and Školska Knjiga, a leading publisher
of educational books in Croatia.

The first Croatian New
Testament from 1562-63 was spearheaded by Hans von Ungnad, a former military
commander in the Holy Roman Empire and former governor of parts of Croatia. He
enlisted a diverse group of people to assist him, including Slovenian religious
and literary leader Primoz Trubar and two former Roman Catholic priests from
Croatia, Stipan Konzul and Anton Dalmatin.

The New Testament was funded
by several German cities and princes.

One of its more unusual
supporters was Maximlian II, a Roman Catholic who later became emperor in 1564.
Maximilian II’s involvement raises eyebrows even today because he was the
nephew of Charles V, the emperor who called Martin Luther to account for his
religious activities that started the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

During the meeting with
Croatia’s president, the scholars suggested that steps be taken to honor the
memory of the Croats who participated in the 16th-century New
Testament, Satelmajer said.

Contact Adventist Review news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected].
Twitter: @ARMcChesney