Renovation works in Padise Monastery brought interesting findings to light

Padise Monastery.
Padise Monastery. Source: ERR

On Wednesday, April 22, when lights were ignited all over Estonia for St. George´s night (Jüriöö in Estonian), it was an appropriate time to take a look at the Padise Monastery, whose history is tightly related to the uprising of the same night in 1343. The monastery has gone through a thorough restoration, and is going to open its doors to the visitors as soon as the emergency situation allows for it.

Renovation works in the monastery have been going on since as far back as 1994. More substantial works have been done in the last couple of years, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Wednesday.

"We have protected everything we needed to. All the places that have been in danger of collapse, we have closed," head of the monastery Marje Kidron said.

During the course of the renovation works, interesting details have come to light. For example, a multi-colored little painting on the ceiling of the church.

Veljo Männiste, a member of the council of the Padise monastery, said that this is polychrome, which is not very common in Cistercian monasteries. "It could be interesting to imagine what it all looked like here. This is a unique finding," Männiste said.

Undoubtedly, one of the witnesses of the glory of the church's past is the carved reliefs depicting plants, animals and human figures and among others the founder of the church, St. Bernard.

Bernand of Clairvaux, the founder of the Cistercian order, came from a wealthy family and decided to take up the monastic life. As he saw it the world was doomed, and so he began to "improve" it. He took all the gaudy gold and silver elements, the reverence out of the churches. In his opinion, big towers were inappropriate, and a real monk had to be in constant prayer as well as to work hard to get closer to God," Marje Kidron said.

In the course of the works, the medieval cobblestone pavement at the entrance of the monastery, the limestone threshold worn out from ancient cart wheels, and the brick basement floor have also been cleared out.

Marje Kidron says that in the future the monastery could become a destination for meditative hikes or even a pilgrimage.

"If Bernard, the founder of the monastery, wanted to come here as a man seeking God and meeting a man seeking God, then while in a modern environment it may be a too ambitious goal but if he comes here, he will find a peace that he can´t find anywhere else," Kidron said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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