The Catholic Church has asked for funding out of the state's churches and temples renovation program. With it, the church is planning to complete different restoration works on the outside and inside of Tallinn's Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral to get things in order leading up to the planned visit of Pope Francis.
"This year is special not only to the Roman-Catholic Church in Estonia, but also for all of the Estonian state and people, as Pope Francis will visit Estonia this fall," Bishop Philippe Jourdain wrote in a letter to the Heritage Protection Board.
The head of the Catholic Church in Estonia, Jourdan also expects "a very large number of pilgrims" in the days preceding and following the pope's visit, and is sure that St. Peter and St. Paul's will also be on TV screens around the world.
According to Jourdan, the congregation hasn't asked for state funding before. Extensive renovation and restoration works had so far been undertaken with the help of international Catholic funds, but for lack of money a whole number of things hadn't yet been taken care of.
The bishop suggests in his letter that specific issues of a higher priority should be addressed, concerning the roof, facade, windows, and interior of the cathedral.
In his letter Jourdan also points out that while the church received funding out of the Estonian state's churches and temples program in the previous budget period (2003-2013), it so far hadn't made any demands in the present period (2014-2018).
So far, the churches fixed with the support of the program have all been outside Tallinn. Granting support to the Catholic Church to fix up a church in the capital wouldn't be a precedent either, as e.g. in 2006 the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church received support for the restoration of Tallinn's St. John's Church, and the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate has received funding for the Kazan Church, also in Tallinn.
Jourdan's letter arrives just in time for a meeting to decide on the 2018 budget of the state's churches and temples renovation program, scheduled for Wednesday this week. The program has existed since 2003, and in recent years its annual budget has been around €722,000.
Editor: Dario Cavegn