Alatskivi Church is a Lutheran church
situated in the village of the same name ('kivi' means stone),
approximately four kilometres from the shore of Lake Peipsi. A
chapel existed here in the Old Livonian Period between the
1200s to 1500s, although nothing is known about it. In 1627,
Alatskivi's congregation was merged with that of Kodavere, and
the first record of the church's existence comes from 1636, in
the notes of the Swedish governor-general.
On 4 October 1812, the current church was
blessed. On 21 October 1866, work on renovating and updating the
church was completed and the church was blessed. The work had
included building the side wings (transepts) and the altar room,
and the work was carried out under the administration of the local
landlord and owner of Alatskivi Manor, Arved Georg von Nolcken
(1845-1909). The bell tower was added in 1890, of simple plain
brick, and blessed on 28 September.
In 1927 the congregation separated from Kodavere
and became independent. In 1930, the first Estonian vicar (or
'teacher' - the word is interchangeable in Estonian), Osvald Põldma,
filled the position. In 1960s and 1970s the church was run-down, and
was vandalised and looted. In 1982 renovation work began, and on 21
August 1993 the first service was held in the renovated church after
the receipt of a single large donation allowed everything to be
Nina Apostolic Orthodox Church is on the
shore of Lake Peipsi. 'Nina' means 'nose' in Estonian,
perhaps in reference to the promontory which the town of Nina forms into
the lake. Nina is the oldest of the Peipsi fisherman villages which
were created in the second half of the seventeenth century by the
Russian Old Believers (or 'Onion Russians'), although Nina was first
recorded in 1582. The villages stretch in a chain which covers much
of the Estonian side of Lake Peipsi.
These were the first inhabitants of the bigger
contemporary fisherman villages who paid fees to the Baltic German
land owners. The church was built between the years 1824-1828, and
represents the Classicist building tradition in Orthodox church
construction, dominated as it is by its onion-shaped cupolas and the
needle-pointed bell tower. It was enlarged into a cross shape in
1908. A church school was added in 1847 and was in use until 1973.
The lake freezes over every winter, and when the
ice starts to thaw and break up, large sections of it push against
each other, forming small mountains. This was most notable in 2002
when the ice was pushing heavily against the shore, causing houses
to shake and making the residents afraid that their homes would be
demolished by the ice. The people went down to the shore to pray for
the ice to stop, and miraculously it did, confirming their already
strong religious beliefs.
All photos and text on this page kindly
contributed by Aljona Kozlova.