LIVE: Estonian singers to perform at a concert to support the renovation of Tartu Maarja Church

A group of Estonian singers are due to sing at a concert on Christmas Eve to support Tartu Maarja Church renovation; the concert will be broadcast on a television and viewers are encouraged to make donations.

The Estonian Church Foundation and an Estonian television channel, Kanal 2, will on Christmas Eve broadcast a charity concert from the St John Church in Estonia’s second largest town, Tartu, where Elina Nechayeva, Andrei Bogach, Tanel Padar, Sissi Benita and several other well-known Estonian artists will perform. The donations collected from the festive concert will go towards supporting the renovation of the church.

“This is a beautiful time to think about one’s values. From giving and from good deeds, however little, one gets a rush of joy and the good deed marks the heart of the receiver. Quiet holiday spent with a family offers the best opportunity to centre on the most important and how we can help others,” Elina Nechayeva, who represented Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019, said in a statement.

Tartu Maarja Church was heavily damaged in 1941 and was never restored as a church; the Soviet authorities turned it into a gym instead. Photo by Wikipedia.

“For centuries Estonians both in the countryside and in the cities, have celebrated Christmas as the most important holiday, and regardless of their faith background or their affiliation with the church, thousands of people are set to go to churches on Christmas,” Urmas Viilma, the head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, said in a statement.

“This familiar tradition has not been broken by wars, alien political powers nor pandemics. So, Christmas is not cancelled, not even for the coronavirus – but sure, one must be careful and protect the health of themselves and the neighbour. So, this year, the Christmas service will be broadcast into all Estonian homes.”

A rendering of the restored Maarja Church.

Donations for the restoration of the church are collected by phoning in before and during the broadcast, €5 phoning 900 0002, €10 phoning 900 0003 and €25 phoning 900 0004 or via the Church Foundation.

The festive concert from Tartu St John’s church is due to take place on 24 December, from 7PM EEST / 5PM GMT / 12PM EST.

The Church Foundation was established in 2018. The foundation collects charitable donations to support the Estonian Lutheran churches, both to renovate the church buildings and to do a spiritual work.

Cover: Tartu Maarja Church as it stands. Photo by Sunshi79, shared by Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 EE licence.

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