Anton Mahnič

Bishop, doctor of theology, professor, writer, reviewer, editor.

ANTON MAHNIČ (Kobdilj 1850 - 1920 Zagreb).

Anton Mahnič was one of the most important representatives of Slovene cultural, political and ecclesiastical matters from the end of the 19th century. After 1897, he played an important role in Croatia. He was famous for being a man of solid principles in every field of his activities. After grammar school, the study of theology in Gorica and his doctor’s thesis at the University of Vienna in 1881, he started to teach as a professor in the seminary in Gorica. He was editor of numerous magazines such as the bishop gazettes Folium Periodicum and Soča. In 1888 he began to publish his own magazine Rimski katolik (Roman Catholic), in which he expressed his strict Catholic views on society, politics and art. In his articles, he fiercely attacked some literary writers, especially Josip Stritar and Simon Gregorčič. He reproached their inconsistency of principles, influence of liberalism, scepticism and similar principles which were inconsistent with Catholicism. In the world of Slovene culture and politics, he triggered a public debate and accelerated the ‘’division of spirits’’, which interrupted the period of ‘’unanimity’’ in Slovene politics at that time.

In 1897, he became the bishop of the island of Krk in Croatia. He founded the Catholic gazette Hrvatska straža (Croatian Guard), and various other magazines. Outside Croatia, he helped found various Croatian academic associations. He was very active in the field of organizing educational and cooperative societies in rural areas. He protected the Croatian language in schools, and ancient Slavic verbal sermons in churches. In 1902, he founded the Krk Ancient Slavic Academy and built a printing house. He had to defend himself because of his activities to the Vatican. He was the signatory of the May Declaration. He sent a memorandum to the Paris Peace Conference, in which he openly supported the annexation to Yugoslavia. In 1919, he was confined to Rome for one year because of his activities, where he fell seriously ill. After his return to Zagreb, he died. His remains were solemnly taken from Zagreb to Krk Cathedral.

His literary activity had its origins in his secondary school years. His best known literary work is a short story called How Father Kobenzl Carried Cheese to Vienna (Kako je oče Kobenzl na Dunaj kraški sir nosil, 1881). He was a very prolific and versatile author. He had a perfect command of writing in different journalistic styles and other genres, ranging from serious comments to essays, humorous stories and particularly sharp satirical compositions.

The interior of Štanjel Church contains his commemorative plaque. Since 2000, the vestry facade of this church has exhibited his bronze statue, made by Evgen Guštin. In Krk, he has a street named after him The Croatians have put him on the list of people waiting to be canonized.

GPS: 45.8160900, 13.8519580

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