Serious luck

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Memorial stone with the inscription "Glück's Eichen, 1685 1689"

Ernst Glück (also: Ernst Glükk, Lat. Ernsts Gliks , Russian Эрнст Глюк  - Ernst Gljuck ; born May 18, 1654 in Wettin ; † May 5, 1705 in Moscow ) was a German theologian and Bible translator.


Glückseichen on the occasion of his translation of the Bible into Latvian
Bible Museum in Alūksne
Memorial plaque on the church in Wettin

After attending the Altenburg Latin School, the pastor's son studied theology , rhetoric , philosophy , geometry , history and geography as well as Latin in Wittenberg and Leipzig .

In 1673 he moved to Livonia , where he worked as a pastor in Dünamünde . Influenced by the superintendent of Livonia, Johann Fischer , he devoted himself to language studies under the orientalist Esdras Edzard . Luck thus mastered Latin , German , Hebrew and other "Eastern languages".

In 1683 Glück moved to Marienburg (Latvian: Alūksne ) as a pastor in the east of Livonia. It was here that the Lutheran pastor translated the Bible into Latvian for the first time  - an essential step in the development of the written Latvian language. Glück planted an oak ("lucky oaks") in the courtyard of the pastorate house when the New Testament was completed in 1685 and then again when the Old Testament was completed in 1689. The printed Latvian edition was published in 1694. The Alūksne Bible Museum provides information about the circumstances of the publication of the Bible, which was then supported by the Swedish royal family.

Glück founded the first three Latvian schools for the children of the local farmers, to which he dedicated himself with full commitment as pastor of Marienburg and from 1687 as provost of the diocese of Kokenhusen (Latvian: Koknese ).

Katharina I., formerly Martha Skawronskaja
The coat of arms of Aluksne / Marienburg refers to the translation of the Bible by Ernst Glück

In 1702, during the Great Northern War , Glück fell into Russian captivity and was brought to Moscow with his family and the maid Martha Skawronskaja who worked for him . Martha, who converted to the Orthodox faith and made a career as Catherine I, gave Glück the assignment to found the first Moscow high school in 1704 and to lead it as rector . Glück, who had already learned Russian during his time in Marienburg, was now able, thanks to his knowledge of various languages ​​and his "philosophical wisdom", to work out the curriculum for the grammar school, select the first foreign teachers based in Moscow and a number of teaching materials for his students - including the Bible - translate into Russian.

He conducted a lively correspondence with August Hermann Francke from Halle in order to bring German professors and teachers to Moscow.

Glück died in Moscow on May 5, 1705. He left his wife Christine, their two sons Christian Bernhard and Ernst Gottlieb and four daughters.

Happiness was thanks to his wife Christine, geb. von Reutern († September 29, 1740) related to the Livonian nobility, including the military, diplomat and writer Georg Reinhold von Patkul . In the years 1705 to 1706, Christine was responsible for catering for the teachers of the grammar school until they were given a "common table" in the grammar school.

After the death of Ernst happiness, his widow was at the instigation of Peter I. an annuity of 300 rubles . From 1708 the Glücks were sponsored by their patroness, Tsarina Katharina I. Christine received the Ahja estate in the Derptsk region as her property.


Ernst Glück has established a permanent place in the Latvian church history through his translation of the Bible . In Russia , too , his name is sufficiently present due to his services to the Russian school system and the Russian language , as well as, of course, due to the admission of Martha Skawronskaja, the later Tsarina Catherine I, into his family.

In Germany, however, he seemed largely forgotten. It was not until the 300th anniversary of his death that the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, together with the Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale) and the Office for the History of German as a Foreign Language at the University of Bamberg , hosted an international conference in Halle in May 2005 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the death of the Livonian pastor. The presentations from this conference were published in an anthology.

Selection of works

  1. Ara et honoris et amoris - Dno Gottfr. Mathesio, in the cum ipsi magisterialis dignitas in alma Philyrea concederetur, erecta. Halle (Saale), 1680. (A poem in Slavonic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and German.)
  2. Drafted the Latvian translation of the Bible edited by Joh. Fischer, with the help of a single Amanuensis, the later pastor of Lennewaden Christian Bartholomäus Witten. After being reviewed by a commission of Liv and Courland preachers, the New Testament appeared in Riga in 1685 and the Old Testament in Riga in 1689
  3. A Latvian prayer book 1686.
  4. A funeral speech on Revelation John XIV. 13. Riga, 1691
  5. Swehta Behrnu Mahziba ta deewa kalpa Luterus, ar dauds Jautaschanahm un atbildeschanahm teem Wid-Semmes Latweescheem par labbu wairota im isspohschata. Riga 1699 and 1700 (a translation of Johann Fischer's declaration of Luther's small catechism; later revised by SG Dietz)
  6. Small Lutheran Catechism, in Latvian, 2nd edition, 1700
  7. He translated the New Testament, Luther's catechism, the vestibule, the Orbis pictus and the Janua linguarum reserata of Commenius into Russian and wrote a prayer book, a ritual and a grammar in the same language. (It is not known whether any of this was printed.)
  8. Occasional poems - songs in the old Livonian Latvian hymn book, marked EG


Web links

Commons : Ernst Glück  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files