Estonian Christians pray together for peace in Ukraine
By Devin Watkins
A host of Estonian Christians gathered on the evening of Pentecost to pray together for their brothers and sisters suffering from the war in Ukraine.
The prayer vigil was held at the Three Handed Mother of God Church in the capital, Tallinn.
Fr. Roman Kihk, the parish priest of the local Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, presided over the prayer service and led the singing in Ukrainian.
He was joined by Bishop Philippe Jourdan, the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia, and the Lutheran Archbishop of Estonia, Urmas Viilma.
Also present for the ecumenical prayer were various representatives of the member churches of the Estonian Church Council.
Families torn apart by war
In a brief speech, Bishop Jourdan spoke about the experience of Ukrainian men who were in Estonia when the war broke out.
Many of them, he said, returned to fight against the Russian invasion of their homeland, but that before they left many went to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest to confess their sins. He added that they wanted to be ready for death, saying that some of them have indeed already perished in the war.
Bishop Jourdan told the ecumenical group that his prayers go especially to the wives and children whose fathers left to fight. He recalled his own experience as a child, when he would wait for his father to come home from military service.
‘Evil will never prevail’
Lutheran Archbishop Viilma, who is President of the Estonian Church Council, affirmed that evil “will never prevail. We know that the people of God will win.”
He also expressed his compassion and solidarity with the people of Ukraine as the nation endures such a brutal war.
The Ukrainian Ambassador to Estonia, Ms. Mariana Betsa, took part in the ecumenical prayer service.
She thanked all Estonians for their constant prayers for Ukraine and for the many concrete acts of closeness and support.
Church’s support for Ukraine
As of the end of May, over 40,000 Ukrainian refugees had fled to Estonia since 24 February when Russia invaded.
Christian churches in Estonia have pulled out all the stops to help their brothers and sisters in need.
Many have found spiritual and material aid at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church where the prayer service was held on Sunday.
Fr. Roman Kihk holds twice-daily prayers—morning and evening—in Ukrainian, and offers personal spiritual guidance as well as practical assistance for newly-arrived refugees.
His parish sends weekly shipments of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The Bridgettine Sisters host a family of Ukrainian refugees at their convent in Pirita, near Tallinn, and provide them with everything they need.
Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Parish in Tallinn has plans in the works to organize summer camps for Ukrainian children to help them feel part of the community in Estonia.