While Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Bishop Tiit Salumäe is heading for retirement at year's end, he will remain active, particularly in promoting the church in its various diaspora areas.
An active EELK has to retire at 70 in any case, though Salumäe's has been extended by two years beyond this. At the end of the year, Bishop Salumäe is due to head on an emeritus term.
Bishop Salumäe, 71, is responsible, among other duties, for the congregations of the Estonian-speaking diaspora across Europe and in Russia.
In the latter case, the invasion of Ukraine has complicated matters, and he cannot visit the congregation there – centered on the St. John's Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg.
Instead, he has to communicate with his flock via video link-up.
Despite these worries, supporting Estonians living abroad is what Bishop Salumäe considers the defining topic of his tenure.
He said: "As a bishop, this is definitely the work involving the diaspora. The fact that we have been able to unite Estonia, that we have one common EELK in the west and the east," is a major achievement.
Ordained a bishop in 2015, Salumäe said that the concern in the western nations where the EELK operates mainly revolve around generational changes and the lack of successors.
Bishop Salumäe says he will not sit idly by, while his emeritus term will include a project recording the history of the EELK Haapsalu congregation – this process has been started but not finished, he added.
The EELK's board is tasked with choosing a potential successor to Bishop Salumäe.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Juhan Hepner.