Monday, March 9 marked the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Tallinn by Soviet forces. The tragic event was commemorated in the capital city with the tolling of church bells all over town and the lighting of grave candles along Harju Street.
Tallinn suffered extensive damage in the 1944 bombing. A total of 1,500 buildings were completely destroyed, and another 3,000 suffered extensive damage. More than 700 died in the attack.
In his sermon at St. Nicholas' Church on Monday, Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma recalled that it was in 1989, on the 45th anniversary of the bombing, that people first began congregating at Tallinn City Center Cemetery and on Harju Street to commemorate the victims of the attack.
He noted that Tallinn, Narva, Tartu, Jõhvi and Pärnu were all bombed in 1944, and several cities were even bombed several times over the years, with innocent people suffering as a result. He also warned against such evil, which can rear its head anywhere and at any time, adding that innocent people are being bombed even today.
As a people, Viilma continued, Estonians would remain standing, consolidating common strength, standing up for common values, and in faith and hope that God, in whom people place their faith, would use his powers against evil as described in Isaiah 43:2-3:
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God."
Leading a prayer, Viilma commemorated everyone who has suffered evil, particularly the victims of the 1944 March bombings in Tallinn, Narva, Tapa and Tartu, as well as of Narva-Jõesuu, Pärnu and Helsinki.
The archbishop prayed for everyone who has suffered under Communist and Nazi regimes in Estonia, Europe and elsewhere in the world, as well as for love to triumph over evil and for lasting peace in Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla