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Comenius “ European Cultural Diversity is Our Common Wealth”

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Comenius “ European Cultural Diversity is Our Common Wealth”. Italy II, Bitonto November 7-11, 2011. K- Jarve Vahtra p õhikool Estonia 2011 . Places of worship of different religions of Estonia. Religion does not play a very important role in Estonia today.

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Italy II, Bitonto November 7-11, 2011

K-JarveVahtra põhikool Estonia 2011


Religion does not play a very important role in Estonia today.

This is due to German rule in the 19th century. They enforced some religions and banned others. They made Estonians do things they did not want to do.


Presently, the main religion in Estonia is Evangelical Lutheranism. In 1943, seventy-eight percent of the total population in Estonia was Lutheran. The first Lutheran Church in Estonia was created after the Soviet Union invasion in 1940.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


The Soviet Union changed religion all over the country. They took away or confiscated church property and they banned religious education programs. Rarely was anyone allowed to practice his/her religion when the Soviets ruled.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


Now Estonia has many religious and holy places. It has over nine places of worship including a Buddhist temple for the Buddhist population of about 800 and a synagogue for the small Jewish population of 260.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


Estonia also has an Estonian Council of Churches, where one representative from each church is selected to participate; some churches are not in the council.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


Different churches have to be selected to be in the council, they cannot join of their own free will. Those who are not in the council are called independent churches. Some of the independent churches in Estonia try to ‘be selected’ into the council. One of the independent groups in Estonia is Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have not been selected into the council.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


The dominant religion in Estonia is Evangelical Lutheranism. Estonians were Christianized by the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century. During the Reformation, Lutheranism spread, and the church was officially established in Estonia in 1686. Still, Estonians generally tend not to be very religious, because religion through the nineteenth century was associated with German feudal rule. In 1992 there were 153 Lutheran congregations in Estonia with an estimated 200,000 members. Active members totaled about 70,000.


Fortified Church Mihkli 13th in Jõhvi

The Lutheran Church-fortress Mihkli was founded in the 13th century on the site of the ancient shrines and cemeteries. The church was surrounded by a ditch and in front of the church was a defensive tower. In the middle of the century along the edge of the roof housed the wooden protective terraces.


The troops of Ivan the Terrible, who took and destroyed nearly all the knights\' castles in the territory of Estonia during the Livonian War, could not overcome this citadel.


Today Jõhvi Museum fortress-church is located in the arched cellar under the building. Here you can learn about ancient history of Jõhvi. CD-guide with audio will tell you medieval stories in 6 languages. Also you will see ancient objects. Estonian Iron Age began 2500 years ago in Alutaguse region.


Christianity in Estonia

Orthodox Christianity is the second largest faith, with eighty congregations and about 15,000 members in 1992. Forty-three Orthodox congregations are Estonian, twenty-five are Russian, and twelve are mixed. The Orthodox community in Estonia today is split between Moscow and Estonian (belongs under Greek) Orthodox churches.

K-Jarve Uhisgumnaasium


The only functioning convent in Estonia is located in Eastern Estonia in between Lake Peipus and the Gulf of Finland. It is Assumption Orthodox convent PühtitsaKuremäe.


The convent was built in 1892 under the leadership of governor-general of Estonia Duke Sergei VladimirovichShakhovsky.


Islam in Estonia

The number of people in Estonia who reported themselves to be Muslims is 20,000. In Estonia Muslims are of various ethnic groups: Volga Tatars (2,363);

Azeri (818); Uzbek (394); Kazakh (233);

Turkish (43); Georgian (25); Others (129).

There is no mosque in Estonia, different apartments are adapted for prayer purposes.


Judaism in Estonia

Jewish life is thriving in Estonia. Currently, the Jewish Community in Estonia consists of about 3,000 people. About 2,000 live in Tallinn and the rest mainly in Tartu, Narva, and Kohtla-Järve.


A new synagogue opened in Tallinn in 2007.

It was torn down in the late 1940s. Before the war there were also Jewish communities in Tartu and Valga.


The internationally best known Estonian Jewish academic is JuriLotman (1922 –1993), the renowned professor of semiotics. There are many well-known persons among the members of the Estonian Jewish Community, e.g. EriKlas, the world-famous conductor, and HagiŠein, a member of the Estonian Broad casting Council.