Emil Anton is a Lay Centre alumnus and a PhD candidate in theology from Finland. He just published his latest book, titled “More Catholic Than You Thought – Travels in Time to the History of Finland.”
The book covers Finnish history, from the 12th century, when St. Henry, an English bishop, martyr and patron of Finland, came to the country to evangelize the Finns and organize the Church, until the 21st century, which has witnessed the new phenomenon of atheists converting to Catholicism.
Finland was Catholic for 400 years before the Reformation, a fact often forgotten in a country that has called itself the “most Lutheran” in the world. Though Finnish Lutheranism has been and still is much closer to Catholicism than other forms of Lutheranism and Protestantism.
The book traces Catholic influence and currents in the “Lutheran centuries” (17th-19th) and documents the ecumenical developments of the 20th century and the return of Finnish Catholicism.
The book of about 160 pages and was partly written in Rome. It is Anton’s third book.
While living and studying at The Lay Centre in Rome, Anton “realized what a key location the Caelian Hill was for the Catholic history of Finland,” he said: “It was Gregory the Great who sent missionaries to England. And then England, in turn, with and through Sweden, evangelized Finland.”
“When I thought of Finnish Christian history, during my time at The Lay Centre, on the Caelian Hill, it all came together,” he said.
Congratulations Emil Anton!