Catholic church gets back items belonging to pre-war bishop

Stole belonging to Eduard Profittlich.
Stole belonging to Eduard Profittlich. Source: ERR

The Catholic Church in Estonia has had the liturgical robes worn by Eduard Profittlich at his consecration in 1936 returned to it.

Profittlich was murdered by the Soviet Union in 1942, prompting for calls for him to be beatified as a martyr.

The vestments are being stored at the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Tallinn; at some point during the 1990s the bishop's stole had ended up on the island of Saarema, according to a report on Tuesday's Aktuaalne kaamera.

"Fortunately, we now found out that the stole was in Kuressaare, at the Saaremaa Museum. We asked for it back, and the museum was happy to return it. It has now reached Tallinn, where it is a relic in a very real senses as we have high hopes for the beatification of Eduard Profittlich," explained historian Toomas Abiline.

The liturgical clothes and other belongings of Eduard Profittlich are well-preserved. The stole, however, is a great rarity due to when and where it was worn. 

Proffitlich, the first Catholic bishop in Estonia following after the Protestant Reformation, was was deported straight from the altar at St. Peter and Paul Siberia in 1941, dying in Kirov Prison in northwestern Russia in 1942.

The beatification process at Rome is ongoing; were it to go ahead Profittlich would become the first Catholic Saint from Estonia.

"The man who is now at the status where he in the process of being canonized - all his belongings can be considered relics, including the stole he wore when he was ordained a bishop," spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Estonia Marge Marie Paas told Aktuaalne kaamera.

Not all items that belonged to Eduard Profittlich and have survived to this day have been found, however, Paas said.

"For example, we are currently looking for a bishop's coat of arms - an embroidered coat of arms," Paas said.

A chapel in the crypt of the cathedral is planned, to honor Profittlich; a museum there already displays his former belongings, according to ERR.

The original Aktuaalne kaamera segment (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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