Christians in Estonia kick up a fuss over Virgin Mary exhibit
Visitors to Estonia’s new National Museum are invited to kick the base of a glass box containing an image of the Virgin Mary, but the clever high-tech exhibit has enraged Christians who want it removed.
According to this report, when people kick a spot on the plinth below the glass box, the Mary image fragments and the word “Reformation” appears.
The Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Urmas Viilma, above, said the image offends the feelings of believers. He wrote on Facebook:
I very seriously doubt that this exhibit is suitable for the permanent collection of the National Museum of Estonia, even if it is interesting from a technical point of view or from the perspective of modern approach to the depiction of historical events.
The virgin Mary for a huge number of believers is not some historical figure or event, gone into oblivion, but a reality today.
Politicians have also waded in to the row. The chairman of the opposition Conservative People’s Party, Mart Helme, said there would be a particularly negative reaction in the Russian-speaking community.
Most Russians living in Estonia are actively religious people and their integration is not helped by religious insult approved on a state level. The image should be removed as soon as possible.
Helme, who was Estonia’s ambassador to Russia in the 1990s, warned that:
Mocking the symbols of faith also has a political dimension to it. An attack on symbols may lead to an escalation of social tensions and a cooling of inter-state relations.
Formerly part of the USSR, Estonia is on the front line between Europe and Russia and is the focus of rising fears about Russian expansionism following the assault on Ukraine. Last year it announced it would build a border fence to improve security.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake.