President Kaljulaid participates in military memorial service on Christmas Eve ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

At the memorial service, Dec. 24, 2016.
At the memorial service, Dec. 24, 2016. Source: (Arno Mikkor)

President Kersti Kaljulaid said on Saturday that she respected people’s wish and tradition to make the church part of their everyday lives, but that at the same time that she also understood the wish not to do so.

The president wrote on social media that she had participated in the yearly Christmas memorial service of the Estonian Defence Forces’ Headquarters Support and Signal Battalion and Guard Battalion. “When I’m invited, because those arranging it wish to do so, then of course I go. Today is one of these days,” Kaljulaid wrote.

She added that in her opinion, it wasn’t important who believed in what. What mattered was that there were many different world views.

“I have said this before: I respect people’s freedom of religion. I understand very well how important Christmas is to christians. And not only to christians, but also to plenty of other Estonians, who usually have much more reserved relations with religion. I respect the work the congregations do to help the weakest members of society. And I respect the wish and tradition to include the church in people’s everyday lives, just like I find the wish understandable not to do so. During Christmas as well as in other times,” Kaljulaid wrote.

The president had written earlier that her most important wish for Christmas was that everybody could spend this time with those closest to them, to spend time together, and do the things that mattered to them.

“There are always people who have to be at work on these days so that we can have peace of mind and celebrate the holidays. They have my sincere gratitude,” the president wrote.

Kaljulaid faced support as well as criticism after she declined to have her election and assumption of office followed by a church service, as her predecessors had done. As the church was not part of her everyday life, accepting would have been hypocritical, the president stated back then.

Estonia is the least religious country in the world, with as many as 84% of the population saying that religion plays little or no part in their daily lives.


Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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