Estonian Lutheran Church removes Jaan Tammsalu from his minister position

Jaan Tammsalu.
Jaan Tammsalu. Source: Rene Jakobson

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Council removed Jaan Tammsalu, one of the most well-known clergymen in Estonia, from his minister position at Tallinn's St. John's Church (Jaani kirik) on Tuesday.

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) Archbishop Urmas Viilma told ERR that Tammsalu returned to work as a clergyman on Tuesday, but no longer as a pastor of Tallinn's St. John's Church (Jaani kirik) congregation, a major Lutheran parish church in Tallinn.

Viilma said that the council debate lasted four hours, whereby Tammsalu himself was heard, and there were consultations with Eve Kruus, the teacher of St. John's parish, the dean of Charles' Church (Kaarli kirik), Jaak Aus, and Peeter Raudsepp, the chair of the board of St. John's parish in Tallinn.

"We decided to appoint him as a vicar-pastor, also known as a pastor-in-training, essentially a pastor without his own congregation," Vilma explained.

"In addition, we anticipate that Jaan Tammsalu will quickly organize his personal life, so that he can serve as a minister in the Lutheran Church. He can then also serve in a congregation if he so chooses," Viilma said.

Tammsalu is currently allowed to wear clerical vestments.

In June, Õhtuleht wrote that Tammsalu, who was then a teacher at the Tallinn Jaani congregation, had committed adultery.

Tammsalu's work as a clergyman was suspended at his own request from June 12, and the break was to last until September 1. In a statement on the EELC website in June, Tammsalu said that this was a medical leave.


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Editor: Grete-Liina Roosve, Kristina Kersa

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