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Beatification cause opens for Estonia's first bishop and martyr under Soviet Occupation


After the papal visit in September 2018, Estonia could soon be getting their first blessed and potential saint, Archbishop Eduard Profittlich, S.J. He is Estonia's first bishop of Tallinn from 1936-1942. 

After him, the Estonian Catholic Church faced 65 years without a bishop. The current Apostolic Administrator of Estonia, Philippe Jourdan, is the second bishop of the country. 

He shares why Bishop Profittlich is worthy of sainthood and important, especially for Estonians during the Soviet Occupation. Bishop Profittlich was one of the many who were arrested and carried to Russia, where they faced their eminent death.

BISHOP PHILIPPE JOURDAN
Bishop of Tallinn, Estonia

“The Church is recognizing the tragic history of the Estonian people during those years. When 20 percent of the whole population was deported to Siberia, and many of them died in the same place where Archbishop Profittlich died.”

He explained that in the 30s, before WWII, there would be about 60 people in Mass on an average Sunday, with only two people taking communion. Bishop Jourdan explained his predecessor had a difficult job and he gave his life for it.

BISHOP PHILIPPE JOURDAN
Bishop of Tallinn, Estonia

“He died in the Soviet jails, so he gave his life really for the faith. He asked to the pope if he should leave or stay. The pope told him, 'Do what you consider the best for your people.' So he decided to stay. He was condemned to death and he died, he probably froze to death some weeks before his execution.”

The Estonian Catholic Press Representative has been collecting material and testimonies on the bishop for a couple years now. She came to Rome to bring the Congregation the Causes of Saints all the materials she's found.

MARGE-MARIE PAAS
Press Representative, Estonian Catholics

“I carried all the materials to the sacred congregation and the congregation just took the packages and now they start to discover and research and study all the documents that we have delivered and it will take approximately six months until we will get the feedback.”

In the meantime, she says having the first saint in Estonia would mean the world to the Baltic country, not only to Catholics, but everyone.

MARGE-MARIE PAAS
Press Representative, Estonian Catholics

“We really need somebody who is protecting us, who is face-to-face with God. He shares the same destiny, as our memory, as our cultural memory. It's extremely important and I'm glad to say that even today, lots of people have been praying for his intercession.”

Pope Francis visited the first bishop's tomb and memorial during his visit in the country. It was a special moment for the country, and one they are hoping is just the beginning step to getting their first recognized saint in the Catholic Church.