Meaning of reformation for the Estonians

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1525

The Lutheranism had at first considerably smaller role for the Estonians than for the Germans. This first regarded directly only the urban Estonians who participated in iconoclasm together with the Germans in 1524-1525 and got the evangelic preachers for themselves. The urban Estonians were already by 1530s mostly Lutherans.

In 1525 there is a notice of the first Estonian publication which was published just thanks to the reformation: namely the catholic Lübeck's town council ordered to destroy the "heretical" publication published in Estonian, Livonian and German language. In 1535 Wanradt-Koell catechism was published which is the first partly preserved Estonian printed publication. In 1554 one more Estonian catechism was published the printing of which was supported by the protestant grandmaster Heinrich von Galen.

The reformation spread in the country very little at first. The single protestant landlords could raise their peasants in the Lutheran way, but no wider religious change was happening before the Livonian war. The Estonian peasantry remained mostly to its old habits which were a mixture of paganism and catholic habits. Only in the 17th century the Swedish evangelic ministers started to fight against their "superstition and paganism" habits.


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