Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lutheran Church of Jesus in Reigi

Visited June 14, 2014

Reigi Church was originally begun in the 1600s to serve the Swedish community in the area. In fact, the name Reigi comes from Swedish for smoke or fire. When the Swedes there were deported in 1781, those living around the church were allowed to stay and the community is incorporated as Rootsi in their honor.

The current building was consecrated in 1802, having been build by Lord Ungern-Sternberg in honor of his son, who committed suicide. The inside of the church has a boat-like feel to it, and even the candle holder is wrought iron in the shape of a Viking ship.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Lutheran Chapel in Paluküla

Visited: June 14, 2014

Lutheran Chapel in Paluküla is a pretty interesting church in ruins.

The church was built in 1802, as a burial chapel for the Ungern-Sternberg family, and it is awaiting renovation.

The church is built on the edge of the Kärdla meteor crater. The crater is mostly filled in, but you can still see the ridge created in the area by the impact.

Edge of the meteor crater

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mänspe Lutheran Chapel

Visited: June 14, 2014

Mänspe Lutheran Chapel was built in 1908. It used to belong to the parrish of Emmaste.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Theotokos

Visited: June 14, 2014

Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Theotokos in Kuriste was built in 1890, perhaps the first orthodox church on the island. The building stones were brought from Riga.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kassari Lutheran Chapel

Visited: June 14, 2014

We almost missed this church, but the second time we passed the sign after returning from dinner at Lest ja Lammas, we decided to drive down the little road it was on the check it out.

The congregation at Kassari Lutheran Chapel dates to the 1600s, and this building was built in the 1700s and renovated in 1801.

Check out the thatched roof!

Monday, June 16, 2014

St Martin’s Lutheran Church in Käina

Visited: June 14, 2014

St Martin’s Lutheran Church in Käina is just ruins now.

The church was built around 1500 to replace the wooded church built in the 1200s. You can see from the picture from the sign though that it was once beautiful. Even the ruins are beautiful.

The church was built on unstable clay, and so the arches on the side are to shore up the walls. The building  was burned in 1941 by German tracer bullets. It is being conserved in ruins by the congregation, which still meets.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Emmanuel's Lutheran Church in Emmaste

Visited: June 14, 2014

I finally got a chance to get out and see some more churches, this time courtesy of a weekend trip to Hiiumaa, Estonia's second largest island.

This is Emmanuel's Lutheran Church in Emmaste.

The church was built in 1867.
During the first World War, the bells were removed and melted down, probably for cannon balls. A man named Harju Tooma Johannes replaced the bells free of charge, asking only that they be tolled at his funeral. During World War II, the bells were hidden for fear they might be melted down again. Sixty years later, they were  found and restored to the bell tower.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

St Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Pilistvere

Visited March 27, 2014

It has been a while since I have been able to visit any new churches, so I was really excited that as part of our America Days in Viljandi, I was able to visit St Andrew's Lutheran Church in Pilistvere.

Luckier still, we got a tour given by the pastor. Unluckily, I forgot my camera so my iPhone had to do.

The congregation here dates to 1222, just three years after the first Christians came to the area. People had been living in Pilistvere for at least 2000 years, so the pastor thinks the area was already special to people.

Construction started on the church in the late 1200s and it was completed by the mid-1300s. The tower was restored recently (late 90s).

The pulpit with spiral pillars and carved statues was done by Thomas Öhman in 1686, and the painting that serves as an altarpiece, ”Christ on the Cross,” was painted by Baltiv-Germanic artist Sally von Kügelen in 1901.


St Francis of Assisi

The church also has a resident cat!

Just beyond the church, we visited the Stones of Sorrow. It is a memorial to all those lost during the brutal deportations and executions during Soviet times. People bring stones to the place and it serves as a gravesite for them to visit if they don't know where their relatives' final resting places are. I wished I had had a stone with me to place at the memorial for my ancestor who was deported to Oklahoma during the Trail of Tears. He didn't survive the trip, and like the Estonians, he has no grave for his descendants to visit.