The Christian expansion to the east coast of the Baltic Sea illustrates the diversity of the missionary movement in the Middle Ages. In some instances this religious expansion mingled with political expansions, for example in the Byzantine, Carolingian and Germanic kingdoms.
Livonia (modern Latvia), the subject of the following article, received the Christian faith first through the Byzantine Church during the "period of Kiev" (which ended with the Mongol invasion c. 1240). In the 12th century, from the west, came the Augustinian canon Meinhard of Segeberg who evangelized the area, centering on Üxeküll from about 1180 on. After him, Albert, the first local bishop (consecrated in 1199) founded Riga, which became his episcopal city in 1201, and began to organize a crusade. He eventually founded the Military Order of the Knights of the Sword to assist him.
Dr. Urban's article gives us an indication of the complexity and historical difficulty involved in considering the history of marian devotion in the various Baltic countries (an almost untouched area of scholarship) especially with regard to Byzantine and Latin missionary activities.
Urban, William L.
"Saint Mary and the Dragon-Killer,"
Marian Library Studies:
Vol. 2, Article 8, Pages 89-94.
Available at: http://ecommons.udayton.edu/ml_studies/vol2/iss1/8