Closer to heaven

  • 2008-05-28
  • By Marge Tubalkain-Trell

Even in church there is TV: St. Olaf's has a committed, if older, congregation.

TALLINN - I am always amazed by churches 's how can one pile of stones and metal be so holy and yet cause so many conflicts and wars? Can one good thought really be equal to all these dead bodies and broken families?
Therefore, one Sunday I went to St. Olaf's (Oleviste) Church in Tallinn's Old Town. While offering hope and a home to those who have lost it, it is also a tourist attraction.  The church is quite active 's it has a Sunday school for children, sermons and courses where it teaches the basics of the Bible.
There were a lot people at the sermon listening to a choir singing.  It was a bit sad to see that most of these people were older, but there were still children chasing each other.

What I did not expect to see were television sets giving live video coverage of the proceeding and a big LCD screen displaying the words of the song. I guess churches have also adopted modern things.
The feeling in the church was so simple and real that even I, who's non-religious, got down on my knees and prayed. I think even if there is no God, the church itself is filled with such belief and dedication that it changes the atmosphere of the place 's that it is why churches feel different.

St. Olaf's church has a viewing platform for sightseeing enthusiasts. I could see no other reason why one should climb 258 stair steps up to see something that you can see on any postcard.
I swore never to go up there again, because that stairwell seemed endless. It was one simple, grey and abrasive step after another.  By the time I was up there on a viewing platform, which is 60 meters high, I was breathless 's and I am not only talking about my reaction to the view.

The tower itself is actually 123 meters tall. I was grateful there wasn't any more climbing involved, at least, as more steps would have simply been too much for me. I am not that fanatical.
I must admit that from the top of the church Tallinn actually feels different. Perhaps that is the reason why people climb up there and take photos, instead of simply buying a postcard. People want to capture the memory rather than to appreciate the aesthetic.

I have lived in Tallinn most of my life so I never really pay attention to it. When I am on the ground and inside the city I do not really see the big picture, but from up there I noticed again how beautiful Tallinn really is. There are so many trees, and when combined with the sea and the red roofs of the Old Town it makes for a stunning view.

The scene is fascinating, but for me it was also a bit scary because I am afraid of heights.  If you are willing to get some exercise and have a spiritual experience at the same time, St. Olaf's church is the place to go.  I would not recommend the tower to those who enjoy a lazy lifestyle though.

Viewing platform open everyday 10 a.m. 's 6 p.m.
Lai tn. 50, Tallinn