The Ukrainian Greek-Orthodox Church of the
Blessed Virgin with Three Hands lies along the narrow route
immediately inside the old city walls, on Laboratooriumi street.
Despite the age of the building, the church itself is a newcomer in
the Old Town, though the Ukrainian congregation has been active in
Tallinn since the seventeenth century. The building is medieval, but
during its long history it has always served a secular purpose.
A wooden box with a letterbox slit is built into
the wall of the church. The hand-painted script around it reads (in
Estonian, Russian, Greek, and English): 'Church of the Blessed
Virgin with Three Hands. She is the protector of the innocent who
have been wrongly convicted, deceived and sinned against. You can
describe your problem and put a letter into the box. The priest will
pray for [a] settlement [of] your question'.
The Ukrainian congregation acquired the
building only a few years ago, and by carrying out thorough
renovation work on it they have turned the old merchants building
into a very pleasant church building. A small convent operates
alongside the congregation, where nuns of the St Familia Order work.
The church is also the cultural centre for Tallinn's Ukrainian
community, and a small museum on Ukrainian religious art and
handicraft is located here.
The First Advent Church is situated very
centrally on Mere puiestee (Sea Avenue), and overlooks Viru Square
and its popular shopping area and the Narva mnt thoroughfare which
heads out of the city towards the east of Estonia. Unfortunately the
area is usually packed with traffic, and cars are parked in front of
the church seven days a week. The building was constructed in 1923,
overlooking the old market area which used to be situated here.
The church holds one service on a Sunday, one on
Fridays, and three on Saturdays. Designs for the building were
drawn up by an architect named Erich Roman Ludvig Jacoby
(1885-1941). He was an Estonian of Baltic German descent who, in
1905-1907, studied at the Leibniz University of Hannover. In 1913 he
graduated from Riga Technical University and went to Germany in 1939
during the exodus of Baltic Germans. His work remains as a testament
The Church of St Simeon and the Prophetess
Hanna is situated on
the corner of the busy Ahtri road which runs parallel to the main
passenger harbour, and Paadi street, which is an access road to the
harbour and shopping mall beloved of so many Finnish visitors. St
Simeon is the second Orthodox church to have developed in the
suburbs after the Great Northern War (1700-1721). It was built in
1752-1755 on the initiative of recently arrived Russian seamen.
Since the Russian empire had only conquered
Estonia in 1710, there were very few Orthodox churches available
to the new masters of Tallinn, hence the need for this one. The
coastline was considerably closer to the city in those days, before
the modern port was built, so the church was practically on the edge
of the water, and the foundations required some landfill to be added.
According to legend, the rubble from shipwrecks was used for this purpose.
Nicknamed the 'Admiralty church', it was handed
over to an Estonian congregation in the 1920s. The wooden building
was seriously damaged during the Soviet period, when it was turned
into a sports hall. The church also lost its bell tower and its
onion dome. The Soviets cared little for churches, even those of
their ancestors. However, since 2001, an Estonian Orthodox
congregation has once again been active in the church and it has
been fully and lovingly restored.
Tallinn Methodist Church is a
startlingly eye-catching construction of the modern period. It is
located on the corner of Narva Mantee (avenue) and Uus-Sadama
street, with the nearby Tallinn port just a little way to the north
(in the direction of the dark clouds), with a constant stream of
heavy traffic thundering past it which includes everything from cars
to trams and trolleybuses. The building is also known in some source
material as the United Methodist Church.
At the time of writing it was the biggest modern
church centre in Estonia. The architects behind the project were
Vilen Künnapu (born in 1948), one of Estonia's most important
architects and a professor at the University of Tartu, and Ain
Padrik (born in 1947), while interior design was carried out by
Katrin and Argo Vaikla. The church hall is reputed to have wonderful
acoustics, while the centre also houses the Theological Seminary of
the Estonian Methodist Church.