A VISITOR from the Porvoo Communion, the Evangelical-Lutheran Archbishop of Estonia, the Most Revd Andreas Põder, greeted the Synod before his address was given on his behalf by the Dean of Tallinn, the Very Revd Gustav Piir.
He described what had happened to religion in Estonia, which lost two-thirds of its clergy in the Second World War. The totalitarian regime then took its toll, so that by 1980 there were only 700 baptisms. The regime lost ground — there were 18,000 baptisms a decade later — but a nation preoccupied with monetary matters then lost spiritual ground, so that Estonia became the most secular nation in Europe: only 16 per cent professed a faith in God. The past few years, however, had seen growth. The Church was now held in high regard by the nation as a whole, the Archbishop said.