Olavus Johannis Guto

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by Roger Andersson

Olavus Johannis Guto (d. 1516), priest brother at the Birgittine abbey of Vadstena, Sweden, 1506–1516; composer of sermons.

Olavus Johannis originated from Gotland (DV 979). In 1486 at the earliest he obtained the degree baccalaureus in arte at the newly founded University of Uppsala. He is then said to have become prebendary at the cathedral of Uppsala (PILTZ 1977), but this is questioned by SCHÜCK (1959, 459 n. 24). At the time of his entry into Vadstena Abbey on 2 August 1506 he is called magister artium (DV 979). On 16 May 1511 Olavus Johannis was sent out together with two colleagues to reform the Polish daughter house, Triumphus Marie (DV 1012). They returned after slightly more than two years, without having achieved much for the Order owing to disagreement (DV 1021). In April 1515 another costly trip to Poland was undertaken (DV 1033). According to the account given by his companion upon returning to Sweden Olavus Johannis died in the Polish house on 28 March 1516 (DV 1039).


Olavus Johannis copied, and in all probability also himself composed, a collection of sermones de tempore et de sanctis (Uppsala University Library, C 361, fols. 1r–152v). In addition to this he presumably copied a collection of sermons composed by Peregrinus de Oppeln (C 385, fols. 324r–384v) and three theological tracts (C 385, fols. 385r–466r). At the time of his entry into Vadstena Abbey he brought with him a number of manuscripts containing lecture notes taken down at the University of Uppsala, many of which are edited in PILTZ 1977 (137–313). The lectures had been given by >Ericus Olai, Petrus Johannis Galle and >Petrus Olai among others. The method in philosophy and theology traceable in these texts, and thus mediated by Olavus Johannis to Vadstena Abbey, is discussed in PILTZ 1977 (50–63). Even in his sermons his background at the university is evident. He dwells more on abstract philosophical subjects than on the usual moral and catechetical religious instruction and does not hesitate to quote ecclesiastical authorities such as Petrus Lombardus and Thomas Aquinas.


  • DV = Vadstenadiariet. Latinsk text med översättning och kommentar (Kungl. Samfundet för utgivande av handskrifter rörande Skandinaviens historia. Handlingar del 19), ed. C. Gejrot, Stockholm 1996.
  • PILTZ, A. (ed.) 1977: Studium Upsalense. Specimens of the Oldest Lecture Notes Taken in the Mediaeval University of Uppsala (Acta universitatis Upsaliensis. Skrifter rörande Uppsala universitet. C. Organisation och historia 36), Uppsala.
  • SCHÜCK, H. 1959: Ecclesia Lincopensis. Studier om Linköpingskyrkan under medeltiden och Gustav Vasa (Acta universitatis Stockholmiensis. Stockholm Studies in History 4), Stockholm.