Good Friday marked by processions across Estonia

Good Friday procession in Tallinn's Old Town in progress, April 7, 2023.
Good Friday procession in Tallinn's Old Town in progress, April 7, 2023. Source: ERR

Good Friday was marked across Estonia with a stations of the cross procession, in several towns.

Notwithstanding the oft-heard claim by the social media commentariat that Estonia is the least religious country either in Europe or the world, Tallinn's Old Town was the backdrop to one large procession, starting at St. John's Church (Jaani kirik), led by head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), Archbishop Urmas Viilma.

This underscored another tendency in Estonia, of an ecumenism and readiness to involve other churches, or at least their leaderships, in a show of unity regardless of, for instance Martin Luther's writings on the papacy and the Catholic Church, or the issues at stake, sometimes literally, during the Reformation.

Archbishop Viilma, who is also president of the Estonian Council of Churches (EKN), told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that Good Friday (Estonian: Suur Reede): "Can't be celebrated directly with the Orthodox Church, for example, because the Good Friday stations of the cross tradition pertains more to the Western Church than to the Eastern Church."

"However, the message that Christ died and was resurrected is common to all churches," he went on.

Eastern Orthodox Easter falls next Sunday, April 16.

The Tallinn procession traversed the Old Town to the St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral (RC), before making its way to St. Olaf' Church (Oleviste kirik - Baptist), and finishing at St Mary's Cathedral (Toomkirik) on Toompea.

Catholic Priest Igor Gavriltchik told AK that: "There are 14 stages which we stop at when worshipping. At each of them, we pray and then ponder on what Jesus Christ did for us and what our right is (sic)."

Similar stations of the cross processions took place in around a dozen towns nationwide, AK reported.

One of these was Haapsalu, where the procession was led from Haapsalu Cathedral to the Haapsalu Episcopal Castle.

The original AK report (in Estonian) is here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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