eja Juutide asualad ja "juudi" nimega kohad
Еврейские места и "еврейские" имена
Jewish places and "jewish" names

Holy Places Called Jerusalem in Late Medieval
and Early Modern Livonia.

Anu Mänd
Tallinn University

From “Texts and Theses on Connections Between Medieval Livonia and Palestine”.

Compiled by Mr. Silver Loit, Embassy of Estonia in Israel,
in preparation for the Conference “Two Holy Lands – Terra Mariana and Terra Sancta”,
held on 2 December 2015 in Jerusalem.

Pilgrimages to the Holy Land, in particular to Jerusalem, were an inseparable part of medieval Christian culture. During the centuries, the number of pilgrimage places constantly grew. From the 13th century, a newly Christianized land - Livonia, dedicated to the Virgin Mary - became a target of pilgrimages. Among the most well-known pilgrimage sites in Livonia were the city of Riga with its relic of the Holy Blood, the castle of Vastseliina with its white cross, and the Bridgettine convent near the city of Tallinn.

In the course of the 15th and 16th centuries, places called Jerusalem (and occasionally also Bethlehem) began to occur in Livonian written sources. All of them were located near a city or a castle. For instance, in Tallinn there were two Jerusalems, both located outside the city walls: the first is usually described as “behind the hill of St Anthony”, [Today Tõnismägi. The name “hill of St Anthony” was given because of the St Antony Chapel that was standing there. [M.R.]. the other “in the suburb of Kalamaja (in German, Fischermay)”. Both of them appear in the sources comparatively late, from the beginning of the 16th century.

Two Jerusalem chapels near Tallinn. From the map made by Samuel Waxelberg in 1688.

A once existent “chapel of the crusaders”, called Jerusalem, is recorded near the small town of Viljandi in 1599. [See here (in Estonian) for details. M.R] Another Jerusalem, as well as a Bethlehem, existed near the town of New Pärnu. Places with similar names are also known from the territory of present-day Latvia. Quite probably, these Jerusalems were chapels, although only some of them are indeed specified as such in the historical sources.

Some scholars have assumed that the Jerusalem chapels were local pilgrimage places, founded by the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order, and mainly for the needs of the Teutonic Knights. This assumption is probably based on the 1599 Viljandi reference and on the fact that most of the Jerusalems were situated near the towns or settlements where there was a castle of the Teutonic Order: Tallinn, Viljandi, New Pärnu and Daugavpils. In addition, Jerusalem chapels are also known to have existed near some Prussian towns which were important centers of the Teutonic Order, such as Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad, Russia), Elbing (mod. Elblag, Poland) and Marienburg (mod. Malbork, Poland).

However, if one looks at the wider European context, it is clear that the chapels [or Holy sites] of Jerusalem were founded by very different social groups or even individuals. In Paris and in several cities in the Low Countries, such chapels were usually erected by a group of former pilgrims who had visited Jerusalem, and on their return formed a brotherhood named for Jerusalem or the Holy Sepulchre. In some cities, as in Paris and Utrecht, these brotherhoods also admitted people who had not gone on a pilgrimage. The earliest references to such brotherhoods originate from the 14th century, but most of them were founded during the 15th and 16th centuries. Chapels of Jerusalem were mainly erected as separate buildings, but in some cases they were attached to a cathedral or a parish church. The architecture of the Jerusalem chapels imitated that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in Palestine, and the ‘tomb of Christ’ was almost an obligatory feature of their interior.

Not all the chapels of Jerusalem were founded by or connected to Jerusalem pilgrims, however. Since only a few individuals could actually undertake a journey to the Holy Land, it became popular in Europe from the fourteenth century onwards to create local ‘Jerusalems’, that is, chapels of that name, mounts of Calvary, roads to Calvary with the Stations of the Cross, etc. These were places of devotion and pilgrimage, accessible to broader segments of the population.

Due to the lack of sources, it is not known when exactly the Livonian Jerusalems were founded or by whom, and what they looked like. It seems doubtful that the two Jerusalems near Tallinn were erected by the Teutonic Order since neither of them was situated on the territory of the Order but on that of the city. In addition, local merchants in their testaments bequeathed money to these Jerusalems (although this does not necessarily imply that the chapels were erected on the initiative of the city). Since too few sources on these Livonian Jerusalems have survived, many questions must remain unanswered. However, it is evident that one should consider the phenomenon of erecting such Jerusalems in the context not only of local cults and pilgrimages but in the wider European context.

HOME Kunst Bibliograafia Business Kogukond Haridus Perekonnad Ajalugu Organisatsioonid Mälestused Religioon Sport Varia
HOME Искусство Библиография Бизнес Община Образов. Семьи История Организации Воспоминания Религия Спорт Разное
HOME Art Bibliography Business Community Education Families History Organizations Memoirs Religion Sport Various