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ARASON, JON (1484-1551), Icelandic bishop and poet,
became a priest about 1504, and having attracted the notice
of Gottskalk, bishop of Holar, was sent by that prelate on two
missions to Norway. In 1522 he succeeded Gottskalk in the
see of Holar, but he was soon driven out by the other Icelandic
bishop, Ogmund of Skalholt. His exile, however, was brief, and
some years after his return he became involved in a dispute
with his sovereign, Christian III., king of Denmark, because
he refused to further the progress of Lutheranism in the island.
Then in 1548, when a large number of the islanders had accepted
the reformed doctrines, Arason and Ogmund joined their forces
and attacked the Lutherans. Civil war broke out, and in 1551
the bishop of Holar and two of his sons were captured and
executed. Arason, who was the last Roman Catholic bishop in
Iceland, is celebrated as a poet, and as the man who introduced
printing into the island.
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