Church bells rang in Tallinn at noon on Monday at places of worship which want to restart services again. Church leaders want the government to ease restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Church leaders turned to the government a week and a half ago, announcing that the churches were ready to hold services again.
Churches have been closed for public worship since mid-March, meaning no face-to-face easter services were held this year, and have been livestreaming their services online. Last week, the head of the Estonian Council of Churches (Eesti Kirikute Nõukogu) Archbishop Emeritus Andres Põder called for the lifting on emergency restrictions on churches in Estonia from Friday, May 1.
Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Estonia (EELK) Archbishop Urmas Viilma explained to ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera": "As this decision has not yet been made, the call for churches to toll their bells arose to indicate that we are ready. We are not protesting, we are not demonstrating, we are just indicating our readiness with joyful bell ringing."
Viilma called on the congregations to ring the church bells on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week.
The emergency situation, enacted on March 12, is currently set to expire on May 17. Public events must be cancelled until the end of June.
Editor: Helen Wright