Part 4: St George's Church, Tori
This particular church is located in a small
village called Tori, so the church carries the same name - Tori
Church (or Tori kirik in Estonian).
The village of Tori is located approximately
eighteen kilometres north-east of the seaside resort city of Pärnu,
on the road to Paide and Rakvere and beside the wide River Pärnu.
First of all in Tori there was a little church called Maarja
Chapel, but this was destroyed during the Livonian Wars (1558-1583).
Nothing was done to rectify the situation until 1852, when a new church was built over the
course of three years, being consecrated in 1854.
This restored house of worship was again
destroyed during the Second World War on 22 September 1944, by Nazi
German troops as they fled in the face of a Soviet Russian invasion of the country. Only
the solid boulder walls remained standing.
Soviet occupation followed, and while local people wanted to restore their
church, the Soviet authorities opposed the idea. The church remained
in ruins for many years, with a shooting gallery operating within
its grounds. The idea to restore it came up again in
1989, during the move towards Estonian independence, and reconstruction began
in 1990. Regular services began in 1994.
The restored church was consecrated to the memory of Estonian soldiers
in 2001. It has since become a tradition in this memorial church
for all Estonian soldiers to light fires and send them all over the country
on St George's Day (23 April) and again prior to Victory Day (22
So it's clearly one of the most important churches in Estonia
The restored church in its full glory in 2008