St Michael's Swedish Church in Tallinn

Updated: 16 February, 2022 seen 262

St Michael's Church or St Michael's Swedish Church is a Lutheran church used by the Swedish congregation in the old town district of Tallinn, Estonia.

We were off in the streets of Old Tallinn wandering what should we see, and I noticed this church and decided to go inside to adjust my church interior photography skills, at this point I didn't yet realized it is a Swedish church nor I had a clue what is the name of this church.

St Michael's Church, Tallinn

So I went inside looking for some best places to take inside photography, when some church lady approached me and in English started a one way conversations with me telling a harsh history of this church during Communist times. I felt dull, it was a surprise attack, I wasn't prepared to talk about church history today, I told her - I'm just a dumb tourist here, enjoying lovely weather in warm August afternoon, but lady was unstoppable. after some 10 minute lecture I asked her -  what is the name of this church at first place? She replied that this is a Swedish church. I said, ah Ok. She seemed surprised and repeated - THIS IS A SWEDISH CHURCH, I replied, yes I understood that. And she continued about harm communism has done to the church, something about atheism ideology e.t.c. Then a quick thought arise in my head, and I replied to the lady - I come a long way from Republic of Georgia, which also was under Communism rule together with Estonia, but in that country they have Georgian Orthodox Church, and despite the harsh rule of Communism Georgians have kept their churches and monasteries. Lady didn't seemed satisfied with my answer, but asked me to leave a note on church guest book, she even gave me a pen, and made sure I wrote something down there.

Now, better guide on this church probably will be Wikipedia.

Organ inside church

A Swedish-speaking minority and congregation has probably existed in Tallinn since the Middle Ages, but the first written reference of Swedish congregation dates from 1531. After the Swedish defeat during the Great Northern War and the subsequent loss of the province of Estonia to Russiain 1710, the church of the congregation, at the time housed in the church of the former monastery of St. Michael, was however taken over by the Russian authorities and used as a Russian garrison church. For some years during the early 1700s the congregation was therefore without a church until they relocated to the present premises in 1733.

The altar of St Michael's Church

During the upheavals of World War II and the Soviet occupation of Estonia, most Estonian Swedes fled the country and resettled in Sweden, and the Soviet authorities expropriated the building which was used as a sports club until the restoration of Estonia's independence in 1991. In 1992, following a state visit by the king of Sweden, the building once more passed into the hands of the Estonian-Swedish congregation. The church was reconsecrated after a period of repairs in 2002. Apart from the aforementioned Gothic vaulting, the church is notable for its fine baroque altar (artist Joachim Armbrust) and baptistery (artist Christian Ackermann)

Church's guest book

Signboard in Estonian and Swedish