Minister seeks €100,000 from reserve fund for urgent Narva church repairs

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Vaulted ceiling inside the Alexander Cathedral in Narva.
Vaulted ceiling inside the Alexander Cathedral in Narva.

A government minister has proposed using €100,000 from reserve funds for critical restoration work at a Lutheran church in the eastern Estonian town of Narva.

Riina Solman (Isamaa), Minister of Population Affairs, told ERR Friday that the funds, which would likely be drawn from the Ownership Reform Reserve Fund, are needed for emergency repairs on the ceiling of the nave at the Alexander Church in Narva. Without the work, there is a danger that parts of the ceiling masonry could fall, obviously injuring anyone in its path.

The church has a notable vaulted ceiling which has even been used in the projection of film images of a religious or cultural nature, for public viewing.

Solman, whose ministerial responsibilities include religious affairs, hopes to put the matter on the next governmental session agenda.

Head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Archbishop Urmas Viilma had also raised the issue at an earlier meeting with interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE).

"Since two concerts are planned at the church in September, it is necessary to make the necessary repairs, finding funds from the reserve where possible," Mart Helme's advisor Erki Helemäe told ERR.

Changes in the law in 2018 made it easier for churches in Estonia to seek money from the Ownership Reform Reserve Fund.

The Alexander Church is an EELK church consecrated in 1884. Formerly referred to as "Aleksandri Suurkirik" in Estonian, which was usually translated into English as "Alexander's Cathedral", the EELK now says that its correct name and status is one of a church, in any language. President Lennart Meri had bestowed cathedral status on the building in 2000.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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