Photo: Historic Center (Old Town) of Tallinn, Estonia
A large group of Christians in Estonia gathered in the capital city of Tallinn on June 5 to pray for Ukraine.
Fr. Roman Kihk of the Ukranian Greek Church led the prayer vigil at the Three Handed Mother of God Church. He was joined by representatives of member churches of the Estonian Church Council, reports Vatican News.
Millions of lives were affected when Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year. Bishop Philippe Jourdan, the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia, said the majority of Ukrainians left their homes to find a safer place while many stayed behind to fight for their homeland. He revealed that some of the men already went to confession and were ready to die for their country.
Jourdan shared his personal experience when as a young boy, he would patiently wait for his father to return home from military service. He urged prayers for the embattled country, especially the women and children who were left behind.
Archibishop Urmas Viilma, president of the Estonian Council of Churches (EKN), declared that evil “will never prevail. We know that the people of God will win.” The newly elected leader expressed compassion and solidarity to the people of Ukraine and prayed for an end of the war.
The Estonian Council of Churches released a statement in March condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine. “As we are reliving our own nation’s painful past, we are witnessing the love that has compelled many to lend a helping hand. An ecclesiastical network connecting churches and congregations all across Estonia, we want to do our best in offering practical help, food and accommodation to everyone in need thereof, regardless of religion. This includes pastoral care and fellowship. Many of the Ukrainian people coming here belong to our sister and member churches.”
The statement concluded with prayers for Ukraine while asking Estonians to remember God and return to Him. “Even if we do not understand how God works, we entrust our lives and our land to Him in prayer, just as our grandmothers and grandfathers did in the most critical times.”
Support for Ukraine
Estonia has taken in over 40,000 refugees from Ukraine. The church has been providing spiritual and material support for those displaced by the war. In addition to the help it provides to refugees in Estonia, the Ukrainian Greek Church sends weekly humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Many churches host Ukrainian families and plans of summer camps are underway for Ukrainian children to make them feel welcome in their new community.