Church of St John the Forerunner

Date of construction: 1922 - 1923 by project of architect Vladovsky with changes of engineer Golubkov

Date of consecration: 21 October 1923 by Metropolitan Alexander (Paulus) of Tallinn and all Estonia

Architect Alexander Vladovsky was also the author of the first design of the church in the name of Saint John the Forerunner in Nõmme.

On September 30, 1912 the first general meeting of Orthodox inhabitants of Nõmme (Revel suburb) decided to build a new church. At the end of 1915 more than 3000 rubles were collected, but World War I prevented the start of the building. Later all the documents and funds were lost.

The parish in the name of Saint John the Forerunner in Nõmme was opened by resolution of the Synod of EAOC in 1922. The most acceptable design appeared to be the design of architect Vladovsky with a dome roof, which was traditional for churches of Northern Russia. The severe simplicity of the church was softened with decorative niches in the upper part of the walls designed for a fresco on biblical themes. The design exceeded the financial abilities of the parish and architect A. Golubkov simplified it by replacing the dome roof with a hipped roof and a cupola. He also changed the facade to balance the vertical rhythm of the church.

Since May 10, 1923, Estonian priest Christophor Vink was responsible for building the church. He was an inspiration to all who participated in the construction. On April 26, 1925 the general meeting of the parish elected Father Christophor as a rector. Before this he served in Uue-Virtsu and then in the Pyhtitsa Dormition Convent from where he was evacuated to Yaroslavl.

Father Christophor graduated from Riga Theological Seminary and was a versatile, talented and sociable person. He was an expert in liturgical chant. Until his death he kept the annals of the parish. Father Christophor made a list with the names of all founders, benefactors and helpers of the church. He was a very modest person, who always kept in the background. He refused Bishophood that was repeatedly offered to him after the death of his wife.

However he became a keen initiator of the reunion of the Estonian Church with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Father Christophor worked with love and enthusiasm. To raise funds he arranged lotteries and concerts. Offerings also came from Russia.

The first years Father Christophor ministered without any salary because the parish could not pay him. He taught God's Law, Latin and singing in the school. «God’s power is made complete in what is feeble». Due to the purposefulness of the rector and his enthusiastic helpers, having overcome all obstacles, the parishioners managed to build the beautiful church that is in Nõmme today.

The church was consecrated on October 21, 1923 by Metropolitan Alexander (Paulus).

In 1960 Father Christopher retired and the venerable shepherd was replaced by priest Vyacheslav Yakobs (Primate of Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn and All Estonia), who had returned from Mordva prison camp. With his coming a new period began in the parish’s life. He extended to the church the invaluable spiritual experience of Vologda region, where Father Vyacheslav ministered for several years. He went through the hardest periods in the church’s life — fires in 1970 and 1972. Part of the iconostas burned down, walls and girders scorched, icons and church utensils were lost, but help came both from the parishioners and from other cities. To replace the icons of the iconostas and two kiots destroyed by fire, the Moscow artist J. Mashkovtsev painted new icons in old Russian style.

In 1980s, on the territory of the church, was built a new office building and a small bakery.

For about 30 years Archpriest Vyacheslav Jakobs was the rector of Saint John the Forerunner Church. On 21 August 1990 he took monastic vows in the Pskov-Caves Dormition Monastery and obtained the name of Cornelius. On 15 September 1990 he was ordained Bishop at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Tallinn. The chirotony was performed by Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

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Address: Tähe 2, 11629 Tallinn
Web site: www.nommejohannese.ee

 


Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate
Pikk 64-4, 10133 Tallinn, ESTONIA

Phone: +372 641 1301
Fax: +372 641 1302
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