Leader of Estonian church denounces remarks by clergy member made on anniversary of armistice ({{commentsTotal}})

Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the EELK, at a ceremony commemorating those who fell in the Estonian War of Independence. Freedom Square, Tallinn. Jan. 3, 2016. Source: (Sander Ilvest/Postimees/Scanpix)

Archbishop Urmas Viilma, head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), has dencounced anti-gay and anti-migrant remarks made by a member of the clergy during a Jan. 3 ceremony dedicated to commemorating the fallen of the Estonian War of Independence.

In his remarks, read at the monument to those killed in the 1918-1920 War of Independence in the Northeastern Estonian city of Jõhvi, Peeter Kaldur, pastor of St. Michael's of Jõhvi, said that in the War of Independence, one didn't fight for the acceptance of homosexuals, admitting of economic migrants and blindly carrying out of orders from Brussels, regional paper Põhjarannik reported.

Asked by the paper for comment, the archbishop said that Kaldur's speech contained comments which were not appropriate for an event of this kind.

"I condemn the comment by Peeter Kaldur, which was inappropriate, or, at most, artificially inserted into that moment," Viilma told Põhjarannik. "At the same time, allow me to highlight the important message which he relayed and was unfortunately overshadowed by his blunt and inept statements — namely the freedom to freely express one's thoughts. Of course, this freedom goes hand in hand with the responsibility for one's choice of words and appropriateness of message, and this responsibility must be borne by Kaldur as well."

Viilma also pointed out that while members of the EELK's clergy conduct thousands of prayer events and church services every year, very few of them attract wider public attention, even if noble, greater and beautiful sentiments are expressed at these events and services.

Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla

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