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The President of the Republic met representatives of Estonian Council of Churches

This morning, President Arnold met with Bishop Einar Soone, Mr Joosep Tammo and Mr Eerik Jõks – respectively Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Executive Secretary of Estonian Council of Churches. Under discussion were national agreement, restoration of sacred buildings and religious education at schools.

President Rüütel deemed it essential that philosophical aspects of different religions and cultures be taught in schools, but he did not favour the idea of propagating any concrete creed. In President's view, religious education geared towards philosophy would enrich the world of ideas of Estonian youth and helped them to make conscious choices in their life ahead. President Rüütel approved of Education Ministry's plans to adjust programmes of religious education to make them fit different age groups.

The President of the Republic agreed with the position of the representatives of Estonian Council of Churches that Estonian sacred buildings needed more care. In collaboration with the Government, resources for restoration and maintenance of Estonian church buildings should be identified.

Executive Secretary of Council of Churches Eerik Jõks underscored that the majority of Estonians had not received religious education and their religious knowledge was frequently confined to movies and books of Soviet occupation period. According to Mr Jõks, it was important that people’s idea of church being an aggressive institution be refuted. President Rüütel agreed with his view adding that religion had a deep meaning in the development of society.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 6, 2003

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