800th anniversary of St. Mary's Land
(Terra Mariana)

Date of Issue : August 15, 2001
Designer : Lembit Lõhmus
Denomination : 6 kr 50 s
Perforation : 14:13¾
Sheet Content : 20 Stamps (5 x 4)
Printing Process : Offset
Printing House : AS Vaba Maa
Quantity Issued : 201 120
Order Number : 227-06-2000
First Day Cover Number : 2001-14
Eesti Post : 800th anniversary
of St. Mary's Land

In 1201 Bishop Albert of Bremen, on a mission to convert the pagan tribes of Livonia to Christianity, founded a cathedral at the Livonians' port and settlement site on the Daugava River (present-day Riga) and dedicated it, along with all Livonia, to the Virgin Mary. Applying for confirmation of the dedication to the Pope, it was granted by the 4th Lateran Council of 1215 and officially proclaimed by Pope Innocent III. By that act, participation in a crusade or pilgrimage to Livonia was regarded as equal to a trip to the Holy Land. It gave Old Livonia, comprising Estonia, Livonia and Courland, a special meaning for the Western church. The name of St. Mary's Land (Maarjamaa, Terra Mariana) is still used as a synonym of Estonia in poetic or religious contexts. Riga, the Latvian capital, is marking its 800th anniversary this year. The stamp features a figure of the Virgin with Child in wood. Now kept in the Niguliste church in Tallinn.

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