Relations with churches in Estonia
The School has several agreements with the local churches. The purpose of the agreements is to maintain the quality of theological education. As of 1999, we have been connected to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) by means of a cooperation agreement (a third party being the Theological Institute of the EELC). The ties with the EELC are also expressed by the fact that three of our faculty members have been or are still working in the EELC as ministers.
In addition to graduates, many of our present students, especially those in Master’s and Doctoral studies, are working in the EELC. Among the students there are parish ministries, provosts and chaplains who work in the defence forces and prisons. Our graduates are welcome to continue their studies in the pastoral seminary of the Theological Institute of the EELC to become ministers.
In 2002, we signed a protocol of joint intention with the Estonian Orthodox Church. Between 2005 and 2009, Grigorios Papathomas from Paris gave lectures on Orthodox theology as a visiting professor. His work was financed by the Greek Ministry of Education. The theology of the Roman Catholic Church has been introduced by some visiting professors as well. Thus, members of the Dominican Order attended our conference about the church’s history in 2001. Hans Maier and Bernhard Grom from Germany introduced Roman Catholic theology in cooperation with the Johannes Esto Society. Several faculty members also teach at the Theological Seminary of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia. In addition, in 2004, the Faculty signed a contract of cooperation with this seminary.
The protocol of common interest was signed in October 2005 between the Estonian Council of Churches and the University of Tartu, creating a framework for cooperation, which has so far provided an opportunity to order scientific projects from the faculty. Two of our recent graduates have become bishops in the member churches of the Estonian Council of Churches – Ago Lilleorg in the Estonian Pentecostal Church and Ott Ojaperv in the Estonian Orthodox Church.