Today Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, which whom he spoke about the congregations in Estonia that are under the Moscow Patriarchate and Estonia-Russia cultural contacts.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said to Metropolitan Hilarion that all of the churches named in the protocol of the plan signed in 2002 have by now been given over to the Moscow Patriarchate Estonian Orthodox Church with a 50-year right of superficies. The foreign minister also noted that very favourable circumstances are created for the activities of congregations. “The Estonian state supports all congregations active in Estonia on an equal basis. We have contributed to fixing up churches through the National Heritage Board and the Ministry of the Interior, and since 2003 the congregations and the repairs to churches subject to the Moscow Patriarchate have been supported with over 10 million kroons,” said the foreign minister, adding that Estonia is open to continued dialogue. Foreign Minister Paet also noted during the meeting that the 100th anniversary of the Assumption Cathedral in Pühtitsa nunnery is an important event for both orthodox believers and for Estonia’s entire multi-cultural society. “In addition to its religious significance, Pühtitsa nunnery is also an historical and cultural monument and a spiritual centre in Estonia,” he said.
In talking about contacts between Estonia and Russia, Foreign Minister Paet and Metropolitan Hilarion acknowledged that communication between people in cultural and educational co-operation between the two countries has picked up recently. Foreign Minister Paet gave the example of many Moscow theatre productions and concerts that were performed this summer in Estonia. “The ‘Golden Mask’ Theatre Festival, which begins soon, will once again bring exciting performances from Russia to Estonia. This week a delegation from Tallinn University will introduce Juri Lotman’s monograph ‘The Unforeseen Mechanisms of Culture’ in Moscow universities and the Library of Foreign Literature,” said Paet, giving examples of the diverse cultural contacts. “The major event of next year is definitely the opening of the St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg,” asserted the foreign minister.
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