Stenbock House – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomed cooperation and talked about the role of religion and Orthodox Christianity in Estonian society during their meeting today.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said during the meeting that cooperation between the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church and government institutions was strong and thanked His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Stephanos.
Both Estonia and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church are celebrating an anniversary year. The Prime Minister congratulated Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the 90th anniversary of the Church being granted autonomy and said that it was a great honour for Estonia and the Estonian Orthodox community to welcome His Holiness to Estonia.
The Prime Minister recognised the Patriarch’s personal role in re-establishing Orthodox congregations in Estonia and other countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Prime Minister and Patriarch Bartholomew also discussed various forms of cooperation between the government and the church. The Prime Minister highlighted as an example that the government supported the work of chaplains in prisons, the police and the armed forces. Allocations from the state budget for the maintenance and restoration of churches and places of worship have remained at the same level for two years. In 2013, the government allocated 722,800 euros for that purpose, 36.4% of which went to the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church.
The Prime Minister also expressed his satisfaction that the issue of church assets has been solved since the last visit of the Patriarch.
To see photographs from the event click here: http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/pildialbum#2567-1