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.


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