Dear friend,

Christmas is a special time when we contemplate our Lord as a little child who came to this world to show us the way. He was not born in luxurious quarters but in a manger, surrounded by farm animals. The magi came to bring Him gifts and venerate Him as the Saviour of mankind. The spirit of Christmas is to be aware of another dimension in this world: of the priority of spiritual and eternal values over materialistic and temporary ones. In one of the former Soviet republics of Europe, a new Christian school has just been founded and needs your help this Christmas.  


After suffering under Communist rule, resisting it whenever possible, and surviving, and after twenty years of trying to fit back into the European community, Estonia today finds itself on a road without an ultimate final destination. The absense of a clear path and moral uncertainty partially influence the educational landscape. There are good and successful schools by PISA standards, but without a stable system of values, all of them find it difficult to make the school experience truly fulfilling. According to surveys, Estonia is one of the most secular countries in Europe, and the average Estonian is unaware or ambivalent to the positive influence of Christianity on the formation of the Estonian culture. Before 1918, most of the primary education was run by churches. Around 20% of primary schools were Orthodox. Perhaps to some people it comes as a surprise, but Orthodoxy was the first form of Christianity in Estonia before it came under the sphere of influence of the Livonian Order and Swedish bishops. Having become a Lutheran country after the Reformation, Estonian people once again discovered Orthodoxy in the 1840s when mass conversions of peasants to the „Russian tsar’s faith“ were taking place in the Baltic provinces. Without dwelling on the reasons for these conversions, we have to keep in mind that Orthodoxy truly became a faith of the people. When in 1917 Estonians had their own native elected bishop, bishop-martyr Platon, it was indeed a logical development.

We try to make aware both the Estonian society and our friends in other countries, that what we propose to do is not „confessional“ education in the nineteenth-century sense. Nor is it an injection of "wishy-washy" spirituality, without roots in tradition and without living faith, into the educational process. The school of St John the Evangelist is a modern school whose concept and approach to education are rooted in Eastern Christian anthropology, which is the understanding of what man is and how he is sanctified. Our school is open to everyone, not only to children from Orthodox families. We believe, however, that the personal faith and the attitude of teachers would help them teach their subjects to the best of their abilities whilst praying for their pupils.

Forty children will enter through the doors of St John’s School in September 2013. They will come into a space which has been warmed for them by months of intensive work and prayer. All of those who contibute to the school are people who are committed to bring out the best in the pupils, helping to open their inner eyes to the mystery of our world and God’s grace. We believe that there is no separation between God’s grace and this world. Everything needs to be sanctified. 

Due to the small size of the country, it is possible to bring about change in the education system. Several new schools based on Christian values are due to open to fill the demand for a more integral approach to education. The preparations for starting the St John the Evangelist School have taken place on a voluntary basis since the beginning of 2012. The school foundation was created on May 21. In Spring 2013 we have to obtain our educational licence, and having suitable housing is an important condition for this. Finding an appropriate building for the school in the green suburb of Nõmme in Tallinn close to the mother parish has proved the most difficult task so far, not least for financial reasons. Our Christmas campaign is intended to raise funds towards obtaining a schoolhouse. All money raised will go towards financing the school premises, or if need be, to rent a space in the first instance. 

This is really a question of helping as much as you can. We have been blessed with the generosity of our friends from Estonia and Russia. We have also organized a successful charity concert. Whilst not all of you can help financially, you could perhaps help spread the word about our school to people who might become our sponsors. 

When you become a sponsor for the school, you join our community of supporters and will receive regular information about developments. At the moment you can follow our development on the school's website,

Once you examine the website and would like to make a donation with your credit card, please press the "donate" button in the English version of the website for instructions. Alternatively, it is possible to support the St John the Evangelist School Foundation (Püha Johannese Kooli Sihtasutus) using the account number EE571700017003217508 (Nordea Bank) for international transactions.


Yours in Christ,

The team of St John’s School