Iconoclasm in Tallinn

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14. September 1524

During late summer the relations between the city of Tallinn and Dominicans were becoming tense and the exhortations of the grandmaster Plettenberg not to cause damage to the monks and withhold from the old religion arouse very anxious mood in the city which culminated in the anniversary of Smolino battle on 14 September when this was celebrated with the catholic procession.
The people pressed to the Dominican cloister, Pühavaimu (on photo) and Oleviste churches and vandalized the icons, altars and other church inventory. Niguliste church was saved thanks to that the churchwarden was able to pour the melted tin to the locks before the arrival of the people. The iconoclasm was organized by both Germans and Estonians.
The town council of Tallinn was startled of the event, told to give the robbed property back and threatened with strict penalties when the iconoclasm repeats.

No more such events took place in Tallinn, the moderate form of reformation won in the city upon the support of the town council. In October the new exhortation of Plettenberg reached the city which this time rather mitigated the issue as the grandmaster allowed the preaching of the pure word of god, but it should be waited with radical steps as long as the religion question has been settled at the general council.
Up to January 1525 the situation was calm in Tallinn.

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

Lauri Vahtre. Eesti ajalugu gümnaasiumile. 2004.

Andres Adamson, Toomas Karjahärm. Eesti ajalugu gümnaasiumile. 2004.


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