The uprising of Pühajõe (Holy River)

to map


In the beginning of the XVII century, Lutheranism remained rather alien to the Estonians. Catholicism was accepted in the Medieval times by mixing it with ancient customs. This did not sit well with the Lutheran pastors and they started to wean the peasantry from their old superstitions. For instance, they destroyed old offering sites that had come back into use. A great uprising of the peasantry took place in 1642, in the village of Osula in Urvaste parish. The rebellion was called the rebellion of Pühajõe (Holy River), because a mill had been built onto the Võhandu river or Pühajõe river, that was held sacred by the Estonians. After the mill was built, the land had been struck by dearth and people reckoned it was vengeance for the desecration of the river. They destroyed the dam and the mill; but the rebellion was eventually suppressed by the military. The local pastor later wrote: "These peasants know not of God or His word, not of faith nor commandments. Their blindness, superstition, idolization, and witchery cross beyond all boundaries."

Image: Memorial stone of the Pühajõe (The Holy River) rebellion in Varese village, Harjumäe.

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita, Tallinn 1995
Image source:

You have finished watching the story. You can play the story again or close it and choose new stories from story selection menu. You can watch up to three stories simultaneously

You can choose up to three stories, if you wish to change choosen stories, please uncheck previous selections

Choose stories



  • ajalooline
  • haud
  • kirik
  • kool
  • sadam
  • ülikool