Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Viru-Nigula  Cover Image

Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Viru-Nigula
Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Viru-Nigula

Author(s): Ants Hein
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Eesti Kunstiteadlaste Ühing

Summary/Abstract: The article analyses the Viru-Nigula (German, Maholm) Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary as probably one of the oldest sacral buildings in Estonia. The history of the church is not quite clear, but it is possible that it was erected on the southern border of the village of Koila (Kokæl, Cokgele) in the early decades of the 13th century, and the initiators could have been Russian merchants who used the nearby Mahu harbour as their temporary stopover. The chapel certainly seems quite Russian; the closest prototype was perhaps the Church of St Paraskeva-Piatnitsa, funded by the same overseas or zamorskjie merchants in the marketplace in Veliky Novgorod in 1207. The chapel most likely stood in ruins in the 14th–15th centuries, but after the Russian-Livonian War in 1501–1503 it was rebuilt on the initiative of the Tallinn commander of the Livonian Order – this time as a chapel of victory, or of War-Mary, as it was popularly known. After the reformation it again fell into disrepair, but remained a place of worship amongst people at least until the early 18th century, when certain Russian features were still evident in its cult, as pilgrims arrived from Russia as well.

  • Issue Year: 22/2013
  • Issue No: 01+02
  • Page Range: 151-154
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: English