Estonia 2011

Visiting the Christians


In May two volunteers from Taizé went to Estonia for ten days. Many young people from Estonia have been coming to visit Taizé since the 1990s. As a sign of fellowship and communion with the church, Monika and Christina visited different parishes throughout the country. They went there to encourage the Christians, mainly Lutheran, to listen to one another and share their experiences of faith.

Their pilgrimage began in Tallinn, and went on to the island of Hiiumaa and the western part of Estonia, like Haapsalu. Afterwards they travelled in central and eastern parts, like Rakvere, Viljandi and Põltsamaa. Every day, they met believers, prayed together with the songs of Taizé and shared about the first part of the letter from Chile, on “joy”, written by Brother Alois. The volunteers described their experience of life together in Taizé and invited everyone to come to Taizé or to take part in the European Meeting in Berlin. Listening to both young and older people, they discovered how difficult it is to live our faith in a country that is mostly secularised. Together, they searched for signs of hope, and heard what gives hope and joy to the Christians. One young woman testified to the love of God she discovers even in people who are non-believers: “Christ is present in every good act. Even people who do not know him do good things. In these acts of love, Christ is there. Even when people do not believe in God, God believes in them. This gives hope to me in a country, were there are not so many people who believe in God!”

One of the volunteers, Christina, from Germany, writes: “I was touched a lot by a meeting with a woman pastor in Tallinn; in Mustamae, part of Tallinn which is home to around 65 000 people. There has never been a church there. So some years ago, the pastor started to “plant” a church. Like the first Christians, they began as a very small number and are now increasing little by little. Like the first Christians, they meet together in a cellar, for there is no space to build a church. I was especially touched by the trust some of them manifested, for example like the women who said, ‘We do not know if we will survive as a church. We will see. God knows and we trust in Him!’ I have deep respect for the pastor in her deep trust and joy.”

Monika from Poland writes: “In Estonia I discovered a completely different reality of the church to the one that I grew up in. I could experience the wealth of tradition of the Lutheran church and it was really enriching for me. It is beautiful to see how the believers seek for Christ who is hidden. Although they are so few and so isolated, they know that God is at work and he never abandons his people. I also realized how much we have to pray for Estonia and for Christians there.”

Last updated: 27 June 2011