The Estonian Evengelical Lutheran Church




50 years since the beginning of women’s ordination – Sermon of Archbishop Urmas Viilma at the Conference „Celebrating and Challenging Reformation“ on 7 September 2017 in Tallinn Cathedral

In the year 1967, on November 16th at 18.30 in the evening after the opening liturgy and the service of ordination, Laine Villenthal rose with Bible in hand to this pulpit here in the Tallinn Cathedral. She began her sermon with the words: ”It is only because of the grace of Jesus Christ I stand here!”, and she continued: “We two, who were just ordained, were not made pastors for the church by our parents, though we owe them for the burden of raising us up, nor did school, where we received the necessary knowledge needed for daily life, prepare us for our vocation as clergy.


CONFERENCE: From Conflict to Communion

Within the framework of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church and the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church will hold a joint conference “From Conflict to Communion” on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017.

Current Status and Future of Lutheranism: Estonia’s Example – Presentation of Rev. Prof. Dr Thomas-Andreas Põder at the EELC Jubilee Congress on 26 May 2017 in Tartu

My task is to reflect, as a systematic theologian, on the current status and future of Lutheranism based on Estonia’s example. My reflection consists of three parts and starts with the clarification of the concept of ‘Lutheranism’ and the methodological approach used for defining Lutheranism – the accessibility and comprehensibility of Lutheran identity for us.


Science in a Post-Religious Society – Presentation of Prof. Tarmo Soomere at the EELC Jubilee Congress on 27 May 2017 in Tartu

I believe that the organisers and probably many audience members would have preferred a presentation with the title “Religion in a post-truth society or in a society without scientific foundations”. However, it would have been a too easy topic. Furthermore, it would have been too personal for many members of our society.


For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free – Sermon of Archbishop Urmas Viilma at the EELC Jubilee Congress on 27 May 2017 in Tartu

I begin my sermon with a quote from a newspaper, which is dated 3 June 1917 and is from the “Päewaleht” and it describes the church congress that gathered here in Tartu 100 years ago. In the newspaper it is written: “This is a unique event, that this very year, when our Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrating the laying of its foundation, the reformation movement’s 400th anniversary, that also the hour of its rebirth has arrived. This renewal is the very best and most influential gift for this anniversary year.

Past and Present of the People’s Church – Presentation of Archbishop Urmas Viilma at the EELC Jubilee Congress on 27 May 2017 in Tartu

We are celebrating a century of ‘our own church’. The notion ‘our own’ needs further elaboration and context. We can say that transforming the Lutheran nobility church into ‘our own church’ was one of the main goals in 1917 after the church had been present in this land for more than 700 years and had also been recast by the events of the Reformation.

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church 100 – Statement of the EELC Jubilee Congress on 27 May 2017 in Tartu

The members, voluntary helpers, workers and clergy of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church have assembled in Tartu for the Jubilee Congress on 26 and 27 May 2017. We have dedicated the years 2017 and 2018 to the topic “Landmarks of Freedom” to remember and celebrate the anniversaries of momentous events that have influenced Estonian people and the 800 years of Christianity in this land: 500 years from the Lutheran Reformation and 100 years from the birth of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Republic of Estonia.


Independence Day – Republic of Estonia 99. Sermon

I repeat once more the words read by Jesus in the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, when he read the predictions by the prophet Isaiah: “He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And Jesus added: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19, 21)

Honoured and honourable worshippers, dear friends!

The predictions and dreams of which prophets were fulfilled when the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed 99 years ago? Who were these prophets who predicted our own nationhood?


Landmarks of Freedom 2017-2018

More than eight centuries have passed since Estonia and Livonia were dedicated to St Mary. In 2017 and 2018 we celebrate anniversaries of major events, which have had a profound impact on Estonian people and church: 500 years from the Lutheran Reformation and 100 years from the birth of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Republic of Estonia.
Free people
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation is celebrated all over the world. The Estonian people celebrate it as a religious festival, focusing on the gospel message of human liberation and consolation, encouragement and rejoicing. In a theological interpretation, the Reformation is primarily a commitment of the church to Jesus Christ. As such, the significance of the Reformation is not limited to the events of the 16th century nor even only to evangelical churches. As commitment to Christ, the Reformation has ecumenical significance, which is relevant for all Christians. It is the revival and renewal of the church, springing from the foundation and centre of the church.