Lutherian church in Estonia. Joachim Jhering is inaugurated

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The Lutheran church was being built up in Estonia. The church was in a poor state after the war: the buildings were destroyed, and ministers had left their congregations. The peasants had returned to the old customs and had started using old tombs. No christenings or church matrimonies were held, no one hardly went to communions. Also, the old pastors were not much of a use, because their education was lacking and their ethics left a lot to be desired for. Other shortcomings were found in the church conventions. It has been said that in Kirbla parish, ale was offered instead of wine at communion. The Polish-Swedish war was another setback for the church, that had slowly began to recover. Under the Polish rule, Livonia had been catholic and before the Swedish era there were only five active Lutheran ministers.
In the years 1638 - 1657 the bishop of Estonia was Joachim Jhering. He managed to rebuild the Lutheran church in Estonia. The consortium of church was established in Estonia and Livonia. The leader of the clergy was the general superintendent, whose power was comparable to that of the bishop. After founding the university, the church government of Livonia was moved to Tartu and the general superintendents worked as professors.
To Sweden, who was the most important of the protestant countries, rebuilding the Lutheran church was also a national policy. In Estonia and Livonia the church was, among others, supposed to help the process of Swedization.
Other religions were persistently driven out. For instance, the spread of pietism in the Baltic states was inhibited as much as possible. The Baltic Germans were not allowed to go and study at universities associated with pietism and pietist pastors were cast out from the land all together.
Building up churches and educating pastors improved the state of the church considerably. By the end of the Swedish era, most of the ministers had university education and could hold services in Estonian. The financial aspects of the congregations were handled by an official (a "vöörmunder"), who was chosen from the the the common folk. All in all, people started to near the church again. During the Swedish era, Estonia became a Lutheran country.

Image: Baroque tower of the St. Nicholas church.

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita, Tallinn 1995
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