are yet problems in the Church relations between Estonia
Metropolitan Stephanos, who was enthroned in Tallinn
last March, has told the «Aamun Koitto»
that there remain yet problems in the Church relations
between Estonia and Russia. One of the most central
questions is the problem of the parishes that are under
the Moscow Patriarchate.
According to the Metropolitan there can be no more than
one orthodox Church in Estonia. HE Stephanos thinks
that the parishes of the Russian Church can form a diocese
of their own as the Moscow Patriarchate itself has lately
proposed. Before a certain autonomy was planned to be
given to the parishes under the Moscow.
The Metropolitan believes that as democracy and liberation
from the burden of the communist times progress in Russian
Church, the Church relations between Estonia and Russia
will also improve.
Shortage of Priests
According to Metropolitan Stephanos there are both positive
development and problems in the parishes of the Estonia
Church. On the positive side the Metropolitan mentioned
the stabilization of the administration of the Church
and, as a result of this, also the building of the parish
life on a more solid basis.
Two things have, according to HE Stephanos, influenced
this development :
the support given by the Finnish Orthodox Church and
especially by Archbishop John
the great work made by the Estonian presbyteras. The
women have a considerable role in the educational and
social work of the Estonian Church.
The greatest problems are the shortage of priests and
the age structure of the clergy. There are no more than
twenty priests and some of them are elderly. Most priests
are very young and they lack both experience and sufficient
formation. Because of the shortage of priests the Estonian
Church cannot establish new parishes and make use of
new church buildings as quickly as the Estonian Orthodox
Another problem is insufficient knowledge of the orthodox
faith and the vision of the activity of the Church only
in liturgical terms. The Church has however an important
social role to fulfill the Metropolitan underlined.
Even so the problems can be overcome with the help of
God the Metropolitan said.
Inteview given to "AAMUN KOITTO" in
Finland August 13, 1999