Bicentenary of The Bible Society in Latvia



In June the Estonian Bible Society celebrated bicentenary. But the same number of years of existence celebrates also the Latvian Bible Society or, more precisely, its predecessors the Bible Societies of Courland and Riga established in summer 1813. It was possible because of liberal policies of tsar Alexander I and his close friends. When tsar asked Count Alexander Golicin, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, where he finds inner strength, he showed him the Bible.

Besides temperance societies Bible Societies are first nongovernmental organizations at the territory of Latvia that accepted in its ranks also Latvians. Of course, one can refer to medieval guilds of Latvian craftsmen however these were very different type of organizations. Thus the Bible Societies since 19th century under various names and with some discontinuities was always present at the territory of Latvia. Even during the Soviet period their presence was felt because people read illegally imported Bibles that had printed in ascetic title pages simply “Bible Society”. Only few people would recognize what hides behind abbreviation BFBS – the British and Foreign Bible Society that was a publisher of Bibles and New Testaments in Latvian during the Soviet period.