The Transfiguration of Our Lord Orthodox Church
(Issanda Muutmise kogudus in Estonian) is on the main street in the small
village of Lümanda, on the western side of Saaremaa. Iron Age burials
have been found nearby, but the earliest mentions of Saaremaa come from
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The island was home to a fierce
group of Eastern Vikings. The German crusade into the Baltics in the
twelfth century saw them conquered, but only after hard fighting.
The first mention of the village of Lümanda is from
1522 when the manor served as the district headquarters for the
prince-bishops of Ösel-Wiek. The church was founded in 1893 (although
1870 has also been quoted), in a typically rustic building. Today it falls
under the aegis of Bishop Alexander Hopjorski of Pärnu and Saaremaa.
According to one local, it has a congregation of five. Surrounding it
is a dry-stone wall reminiscent of the type seen in Yorkshire in England.
The Apostolic Church of St Olga (Püha Olga
kirik) stands at Aia 3, close to the junction with Rahu, just west of
Kuressaare mnt as it heads northwards into the heart of the village of
Leisi. The church was constructed in 1873, using limestone in its walls
and forming a cross-shaped building, with a large central onion dome
and four corner towers. The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church in Estonia
was restored in 1993, after surviving in exile during the years of
St Catherine's Church (Katariina kirik) stands
on a side street south-west of the junction between the Kantsi road and
Road 10, in Liiva, in the centre of the island of Muhu, immediately north
of Saaremaa. The towerless church was first mentioned in 1267. Its west
door partly survives from 1617. It was damaged by fire in 1941, during the
Second World War, and stood roofless until 1958, although the original
vaults, over the church rather than under it, survived.
One photo on this page kindly contributed by Jordi
Escuer and one by Anu Wintschalek, both via the 'History Files:
Churches of Estonia' Flickr group.