Emmaste Church

Emmaste küla

Construction of this stone church started in 1866, after the Sõru wooden church near the Emmaste Manor became usable. The land for the new church was presented to the congregation by the lady of the manor, Countess Brevern de la Gardie.
The nave resembles a church hall, despite the two rows of thin support columns. The choir room is separated from the nave by a high, but relatively narrow, triumphal arch. The Emmaste Church has a unique altar painting entitled The Resurrection. The author of the painting, as confirmed by the signature at the bottom of the canvas, is Tõnis Grenzstein, the distinguished representative of the Dusseldorf School in Estonia. The altar painting was completed in 1900.

The oldest sacred building in Emmaste was Sõru wooden chapel which had become unserviceable by the time an independent Emmaste parish was formed in 1866. The owner of Emmaste manorial estate Brevern De la Gardie allocated a piece of his land for a new church. It was then called the Nõmme pine forest and is now known as the Church pine forest. Emmaste Immanuel Church was completed in 1867; the first minister was Ferdinand Luther. Theodor Embeck, who had become famous due to his missionary work, was also a minister of Emmaste Church.

Emmaste Church is one of the youngest Lutheran churches in Hiiumaa. For local people it had also a more practical purpose- it was an excellent seamark. The most noteworthy work of art in the church is the altarpiece “Resurrection”, painted by Tõnis Greinztein (1863-1916) in 1900.

The story of the bells of Emmaste Church is also interesting. Initially the church had two bells which were removed during World War I and probably melted into cannonballs. After the end of the war, local people raised money and had new bells made for the church. A man called Harju Tooma Johannes delivered the bells free of charge and only asked that the bells would be tolled at his funerals without a charge. During the Second World War local people hid the bells, fearing that the history would repeat itself. By now, one of the bells has been found and is hanging in the tower of the church again.


It is a waypoint on the journey

You might also be interested in: