Estonian Catholics join their Eastern European brothers and sisters in Ukraine and pray for peace and an end to the Russian invasion.
February 28, 2022
About 30,000 people took part in the rally in Tallinn on Saturday
By Devin Watkins
Around 30,000 Estonians demonstrated in Tallinn’s Freedom Square on Saturday afternoon to unite their voices in favor of peace, as Russia continued its military push to subjugate Ukraine.
Thousands also gathered in Estonia’s other major cities, Tartu and Narva.
Ms. Marge-Marie Paas, Director of Communications for the Apostolic Administration of Estonia, participated in the Tallinn rally and later spoke to Vatican News about the local Church’s support for Ukraine.
Moving support show
The protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “deeply moving”, Ms Paas said, adding that it started with the Ukrainian and Estonian national anthems.
She said Estonians welcomed the speech by President Alar Karvis, who urged Estonians to “open their hearts and the doors of their homes to Ukrainian refugees” and show “compassion and care”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his gratitude to Estonians for supporting his compatriots.
He claimed it was the “biggest protest in Estonia’s modern history” and told the Estonian president that the “vyshyvanka (a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt) looks good on you.
Material and spiritual help
As Ukraine bears the brunt of the Russian advance, Estonians join Catholics around the world in spiritual and material support for Ukrainians in need.
The Estonian Red Cross has been inundated with cash donations and household items to send to Ukraine, according to ETV, Estonia’s national public broadcaster.
Ms Paas said local Catholic parishes are “absolutely open to helping refugees and supporting Ukrainians”.
Support goes beyond hardware, Paas added. She said Estonian Catholics immediately started praying for peace in Ukraine after Russia invaded on Thursday morning.
Estonians welcome Pope’s call for day of prayer
Catholics in the “Land of Mary” turn to Our Lady again as war shatters peace in Europe.
They held a special rosary on Saturday evening and another on Sunday morning after masses in Tallinn, to pray for peace and for the souls of those who died in the fighting in Ukraine.
“On Ash Wednesday, we will follow the full day of fasting and prayer, especially in our cathedral where we will hold prayer vigils. We would really like at this time to support our sisters and brothers in Ukraine with prayer. »
Pope Francis has called on Christians around the world to join in a day of fasting and prayer for peace, especially in Ukraine on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 2. “I particularly encourage believers to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on this day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war,” the pope said during Wednesday’s general audience.
Secure in alliances
Estonia spent 50 years as a satellite state of the Soviet Union and shares a 294 kilometer long border with Russia. The European Union state is now a member of the NATO military alliance.
Asked whether Estonians are worried about a possible escalation of violence with Russia spilling over into Ukraine, Paas says Estonian alliances are “strong and secure”.
She said that Estonians prefer to remember the words of Pope Saint John Paul: “Do not be afraid”.–Vatican News