Controversial Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar has announced that a Russian Orthodox Church in the Tallinn district of Lasnamäe will be completed in 2013 as per schedule, according to a report by Ingrid Teesalu on the English site of Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).
Mr. Savisaar, 62, leader of the centre-left Keskerakond (Centre) Party and Mayor of Tallinn since 2007 (he had previously held the post between 2001-2004) recently returned from a trip to Moscow, where he met with heads of the Andrei Pervozvannoi Fund, supporters of the Church’s construction, according to the report.
Mr. Savisaar stated that details surrounding the Church’s construction, including its bell tower (whilst being a new building, the Church is being constructed along traditional Orthodox architectural principles) had been discussed and that everything was on track. He declined to state the sum received from the Andrei Pervozvannoi Fund, but also claimed that private donations from within Estonia had been snowballing and that the Church would be a place that worshippers could be pleased with, the report stated.
Lasnamäe is a residential district, the most populous in Tallinn, to the east of the centre. It is the largest of the three later Soviet-era dormitory districts and was constructed through the course of the 1970s and ’80s. It has a majority Russian-speaking population; the new Church will join the existing Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on Toompea, which was completed in 1900.
Estonian daily newspaper Postimees had previously (in 2010) discovered that funds of around 1.5 million Euros had been received by Mr. Savisaar from Russian sources, earmarked for the Church’s construction.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Estonia falls under the Moscow Patriarchy and has around 150 000 adherents in Estonia as a whole; a far smaller Estonian Orthodox Church also exists.