Beginning of reformation in Tallinn

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June 1523

The current capital as the first of the Estonian cities has signs of the reformation.

On the photo: Tallinn Dome Church.

The reformation started in Tallinn probably in 1523, as already three preachers operated in the city by the beginning of the next year: Johann Lange (in Niguliste church), Zacharias Hasse (in Oleviste) and Heinrich Bockholt (in Pühavaimu).

The poor getting along of the city with Tallinn bishop Johann Blankenfeld (he was at the same time Tartu's bishop and since 1524 also Riga's archbishop) contributed to the spread of the new religion.
The conflicts also incurred between the town council and Dominican cloister, the latter were accused of the acquisition of the property of the dead and in general greed.

At the same time the Dominicans were the ones who first stood against the reformatory preachers, as they had sermons for the common people and were also well familiar with the religious truths. Therefore the public conflict soon broke out between the reformers and Dominicans. The town council took the side of the new religion after small doubt.
The beginning of reformation in Tallinn was still quite difficult and contradictory. The town council namely did not connect the reformation with Luther whom he also named the sectarian in 1527 (substantially the heretic) and stated that they want to promote only pure word of god in their city. The last term might actually denote also what the sayer just now required: the catholic grandmaster Plettenberg considered the catholic ceremonies the pure word of god which was free of political speeches. Only by the beginning of 1530s the Lutheran reformation was clearly spread in Tallinn.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. II, Eesti keskaeg. 1937.


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