Domenikus Custos: Petrus Canisius, copperplate engraving, 1608

The Jesuit Petrus Canisius (1521-1597) was one of the most important figures in the early phase of the Counter-Reformation in the Habsburg lands. Canisius was the author of the ‘Great Catechism’, published under the Latin title Summa Doctrinae Christianae in Vienna in 1555. A summary of Catholic doctrine intended to counter the wealth of Protestant literature in circulation, it was distributed throughout the country by imperial decree.