01 May 2007, 13:59
Estonian Orthodox primate proposes setting up cross instead of Bronze Soldier
Tallinn, May 1, Interfax - Primate of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Cornelius, the Metropolitan of Tallinn and all-Estonia, has proposed to perpetuate the memory of the place where the Bronze Soldier monument was installed by setting up a cross.
"As far the place of the monument of concerned, I propose to install a cross to commemorate the sad event, just as in other places of sorrow, for example places where large vessels such as Estonia and Rusalka wrecked," a statement by the Metropolitan published on the official website of the Estonian Orthodox Church reads.
He criticized actions of Estonian authorities during the unrest that broke out late last week.
"Our government ignored the position of the Tallinn authorities, which rests on opinions of participants in a round table meeting on the Bronze Soldier monument problem, statements articulated by Estonian and foreign politicians, public figures and organizations, and common sense, when started on April 26, 2007, the eve of the Victory Day, the operation to insult the memory of soldiers who fought 'Brown Plaque,'" the statement reads.
"The issue does not deal with reburying the remains of soldiers, it deals with the attitude to their memory. The place was sacred for years for every person who understands that Nazism is disastrous for the mankind. The place was sacred for those who respected the memory of soldiers who sacrificed their lives so that we may live in free society today," the Metropolitan said.
"The Bronze Soldier was a symbol of honor and dignity for those who respect the memory of soldiers," he said.
"There is nothing bad about people's wrathful protest against an attempt to oust the monument to a cemetery. However, it is bad that many people who got down to good cause did not change themselves at first and allowed their small passions to slope over, yielded to provocations and behaved in a manner unworthy of dead soldiers, thus disgracing themselves ad their associates desecrating the memory of soldiers and playing into hands of those who seed ethnic hatred in society. It is bad that they bend anger against innocent," the statement reads.
"Protesting is a matter of conscience of every person; however, forms of protest should comply with the goal. Mean methods do not justify a decent goal and hinder achieving it," the Metropolitan said.
The unrest broke out in Estonia on Thursday night after the government started preparations to begin excavating the common grave to Soviet soldiers who fought the Nazis. The Russian community regards the plans as an insult to the dead. The protests developed into rioting that has spread from Tallinn to some towns in the northeast with a large ethnic Russian population.