Congregations celebrate Easter in person for first time in two years
Western Christians celebrated Easter on Sunday, and congregations in Estonia were able to celebrate in person together for the first time in two years following two years of pandemic-related cancellations.
A Paschal candle was lit late at night on Saturday in the courtyard of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Tallinn's Old Town. The Paschal candle represents Christ and the shared flame represents faith.
In challenging times, when the war in Ukraine is affecting everyone, what is most important is to find inner peace, confirmed Bishop Philippe Jourdan, leader of the Catholic Church in Estonia, and Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma.
"This is the war that we will win within ourselves — that there would be no hate even in the current situation — that our love does not run out," Jourdan said. "This is the most important war. Let's try to fight and win that war."
"I have seen how Christians and clergy in Ukraine have been able to maintain calm and continue serving even when they have to do so in bomb shelters," Viilma said. "This calm is being carried over to us as well, and we must reflect it for others."
Pastor Jaak Aus, head of the EELK's St. Charles congregation in Tallinn, said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he hadn't stood in front of such a full church in two years. St. Charles' congregation is the biggest in the Estonian Lutheran church.
"It's like I've never conducted a church service before, that's how nervous I am," Aus admitted. "And another thing too — this pandemic influenced people's movements somewhat. Right now we can say that the church is continuing to fill up, and that's a cause for positive nerves. The event we're celebrating is important to people."
While Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrated Easter, Sunday marked Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week according to the Orthodox calendar.
Estonia's Orthodox populations as well as the Seto will celebrate Easter Sunday on April 24.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla