2007/4 (16)

Special Issue ‘Pirita Convent 600’
Edited by Kersti Markus

Pirita Convent 600. Kersti Markus


17−38; >Summary 39−40<
Marika Mägi. From the Hill-Fort of Iru to the Convent of St. Birgitta. Maritime Cultural Landscape on the Lower Reaches of the Pirita River

This article gives an overview of the development trends of maritime landscapes in the Nordic countries and in Estonia, and examines the role of the most significant buildings on the lower reaches of the Pirita River − the Iru hill-fort and the Pirita convent – in the development of the cultural landscape surrounding the Bay of Tallinn. The author offers an interpretation of the ancient Iru complex; there was a trading centre already in the Bronze Age, especially starting from the pre-Viking period, and Iru was not a settlement concentration point as has been suggested previously. Its subsequent development proceeded hand in hand with tendencies observed elsewhere in the Baltic Sea region, i.e. with developing social relations, and with the foreign trade concentrated in single larger harbour sites that later became medieval towns. In the course of this process, the harbours moved closer to the sea and the previous harbour sites lost their significance, although they remained the trading centres of local areas. One such place was the estuary of the Pirita River; the convent established there in the 15th century can be seen, in addition to having a sacral function, as a manifestation of power and a defence structure for the nearby trading centre.

17−38; >Summary 39−40<
Tiina Kala. Northern Estonian Church Life in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century: The Religious Environment in Which the Pirita Monastery Emerged

In 1346 the King of Denmark sold northern Estonia to the Teutonic Order, whereupon the Tallinn diocese experienced problems brought about by the Order’s power. The biggest problem was the interdict of 1354 declared on the Order territories. Following the relations between the church and the overlord makes it possible to better understand the history of the Tallinn diocese and its religious institutions in the 14th century, about which there is rather scant information.

60−71; >Summary 72−74<
Juhan Kreem, Kersti Markus. Who Founded the Pirita Convent?

This article examines the background of people who were involved in founding the Pirita convent. The founding of the convent was a joint undertaking of various groups of people. In addition to Hanseatic merchants, local vassals and the landowner, the Teutonic Order also contributed to it.

75−87; >Summary 88−92<
Ruth Rajamaa. Foundation of the Pirita Convent, 1407−1436, in Swedish Sources

This article is largely based on Swedish sources and examines the role of the Vadstena abbey in the history of the Pirita convent, from the founding of its daughter convent in 1407 until the consecration of the independent convent in 1431. Various aspects of the Vadstena abbey’s patronage are pointed out, revealing both a helpful attitude and interfering guidance. Vadstena paid more attention to Pirita than to other Birgittine monasteries and had many brothers and sisters of its monastery there. Such closeness to the mother monastery is a totally new phenomenon in the history of researching Pirita, and still needs more thorough analysis. Correspondence with Vadstena offers more detailed data about the merchants considered to be the founders of Pirita, whose origins have remained vague to this day.

93−107; >Summary 108−110<
Helen Bome. ‘I am the True Vine.’ Allegorical Motif on a Fifteenth-Century Ceramic Mould from the Pirita Convent

This article examines fragments of two miniature relief moulds found in the Pirita convent near Tallinn. They were made in the central Rhineland and are the only surviving examples of late medieval ceramic matrices in Estonia. One of them bears the motif of Christ the True Vine (John 15). The iconography and meaning of the motif are analysed in the context of the Brigittine spirituality of the convent and the devotional life of the time. The topic on the other mould is also revealed. The choice of imagery on the ceramic moulds and their possible function are discussed.

111−140; >Summary 141−144<
Linda Kaljundi. The Pirita Convent in Estonian Historical Memory: Not Just in the Forest behind the Convent

The Pirita convent is one of the best known symbolic and visual signs of the Middle Ages in Estonia. At the same time, its role in our historical memory has been both remarkable and unusually diverse, uniting a number of different narratives, and also visual and performative layers. This article examines the shaping of Pirita as an Estonian ‘realm of memory’, paying special attention to the contrast between its alienation and domestication.