Lutheran church to restore Keila statue of its namesake

Placemaker photo of the original 19th century Martin Luther statue in Keila.
Placemaker photo of the original 19th century Martin Luther statue in Keila. Source: ERR

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) says it will be placing a statue of Martin Luther, one of the sixteenth-century founders of the Protestant Reformation. A previous Luther statue just outside Keila, near Tallinn, was removed by Soviet authorities in 1949 and its subsequent whereabouts are unknown.

In addition to being Halloween, Thursday was Reformation Day for those so inclined; 2017 saw the 500th anniversary of Luther nailing his famous 95 theses to a church door in Wittenburg, Germany.

According to a report on ERR current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera, a copy of the statue was placed in the St. Mary's Cathedral on Toompea, in Tallinn, and a large photo of the actual statue stands in the location of the original in Keila.

"Following the reformation anniversary we have had plenty of people expressing their opinion on the reformation reaching Estonia and Livonia. We are the people of Estonia. We have our own language precisely thanks to this heritage. I think that this is also a reason why we should restore the Luther statue," said head of the EELK Archbishop Urmas Viilma.

The government already earmarked the site for restoration in 2016, and many local residents in Keila reportedly await the statue's return. The previous state had been a popular meeting place in the town.

"We require a design. We are going to erect a statue, following all necessary regulations, the monument near a prominent junction. This has also to meet all today's demands and tomorrow's potential needs," said," said Tõnu Karu, an EELK councilor.

Karu said the first major donations have been made to restore the Luther statue, including €5,000 from the von Meyendorff family, descendants of local landlord Georg von Meyendorff, who in 1862 paid for the original statue, which set him back 9,000 rubles.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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