Church bells to toll on anniversary of mass fleeing of Estonians in 1944

A service will be held in St John's Church (Jaani Kirik) to remember the Great Refugee Flight.
A service will be held in St John's Church (Jaani Kirik) to remember the Great Refugee Flight. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

It will be 75 years this fall since the mass fleeing of Estonians in 1944, when tens of thousands of residents left their homeland before advancing Soviet troops to escape the oncoming Soviet terror.

An unknown number of those who had to leave their homeland lost their lives on land or at sea.

The head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK), Archbishop Urmas Viilma, issued a call for members of the clergy on Thursday to remember the flight of Estonians in communities and congregations all over the world. 

"In connection with the 75th anniversary of the Great Refugee Flight, I request for the Great Refugee Flight to be commemorated in all congregations of EELK both in Estonia and in diaspora in a memorial service, a prayer event or the Sunday service and to ring bells at 18:00 on September 19 to commemorate those who perished during the flight," Viilma said.

An ecumenical service officiated by archbishop emeritus Andres Poder will be held in St. John's Church (Jaani Kirik) in Tallinn at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19. 

Coordinated by the Estonian World Council, events to commemorate the Great Refugee Flight of 1944 will be held in Estonia and in many places all over the world from Sept. 18-22.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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