The Estonian Evengelical Lutheran Church
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Archbishop Urmas Viilma: our national flag was born on 4 June 1884

Dear Friends!

This year we celebrate the 140th anniversary of the colour combination blue, black and white.

On 29 September 1881, a group of nationally minded students at the University of Tartu held the founding meeting for the student section “Vironia“ at which the colours blue, black and white were chosen to represent them. Unfortunately, the section was unable to achieve official recognition due to the opposition of the Baltic-German student corporations; but the colour combination blue, black and white had come into being. Only three years later, on 4 June 1884, blue, black and white were blessed as the tricolour, and our national flag was born.

The clergyman Aleksander Mäevälja (1857-1938), a participant in the event of choosing the colours, offered in 1934 an explanation in the newspaper “Postimees“ (no. 144, 30 May 1934):  “The colours were to remind us of who we are, where we are heading to, what we are striving for – the same should be known to others in the future: We are Estonians, we want to remain Estonians, for that we have a right and an obligation /…/ Is it not so that the blue sky covers our homeland, in the south we have blue-surfaced lakes, in the north in Viru County are the so-called Blue Mountains. The colour black took its place as a reminder of the dark and painful past of our people, the fertile black soil of the land, the black frock-coat of Mulgimaa and the black coals that produce a good fire.”  Further, Hugo Treffner (1845-1912) said of the colour white: “We ourselves strive toward the light and give light to the people. We should not be without the sunshine – let the colour white belong among our national symbols!” (ibid.)  

Today, on the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Estonia, all around Estonia we have raised the blue-black-white flags, so that under these sacred colours can gather all of the people of Estonia – from Vilsandi to the Narva River, from the Island of Mohni to the Uplands of Haanja.

Bless this flag, our free nation, its leaders and people, Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Urmas Viilma

Archbishop of the EELC

24 February 2021


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