Flacius Illyricus, Matthias [key], 1520–75, German Lutheran reformer, whose original name was Matthias Vlachich or Francowich, b. Istria. After studying for the priesthood, he went (1541) to Wittenberg, where he became (1544) professor of Hebrew. Greatly influenced by Martin Luther, Flacius became the acknowledged leader of the strict Lutherans. His rigid position led to many theological controversies. He was the chief opponent of Melanchhon, objecting to his compromising with the Roman Catholic Church on nonessentials. In 1557, Flacius became professor of the New Testament at the Univ. of Jena. His conception of original sin, which excluded the notion of free will, made him the subject of attack. After leaving Jena in 1562, he wandered about until he found refuge at Frankfurt. Chief among his writings are Catalogus testium veritatis (1556), Clavis scripturae (1567), and Glossa-compendiaria in Novum Testamentum (1570).
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