History

HISTORY TIMELINE OF ESTONIA AND TAT

  • February 24, 1918
  • June 17, 1940
  • 1940–1950
  • 1940...
  • August 20, 1991
  • March 1992
  • September 16, 1992
  • 1992–2019
  • July 1, 2013
  • December 2, 2019
  • Independence of Estonia

    Estonian Republic is declared February 24, 1918. It’s first time in the history when Estonia becomes independent republic.
  • Soviet occupation begins

    Soviet Union is occupying Estonia during World War 2 1940. Estonians will suffer 50 years under aggressive Soviet atheistic propaganda.
  • Loosing 70% of pastors

    During the first 10 years of Soviet occupation about 70% of Estonian Lutheran Church pastors were killed, imprisoned, deported to Siberia or escaped to western countries.
  • Persecution

    During 50 years of aggressive Soviet atheistic propaganda percentage of Christians in Estonia dropped from 98% to about 10%. Fruits of this atheistic propaganda are still there.
  • Reindepence of Estonia

    Estonia regains independence. The people did not express their aspiration for freedom with weapons but with singing. It became known as the “Singing Revolution” and the chain of events led to our reindependence.
  • Lutheran pastors from USA

    Eight Lutheran pastors from USA visited Estonia and met with pastor Eenok Haamer. He shared his vision of Christian College as there was big need to train Christian leaders. These pastors decided to support his initiative financially. This was starting point for TAT founding activities.
  • Foundation of TAT

    TAT was founded with the financial support of a group of American pastors who had visited Estonia earlier that year.
  • Limited conditions

    During 27 years TAT managed on very limited rented space. Carrying vision of Christian Outreach Center throughout all those years.
  • Merger With Lutheran Church Seminary

    TAT worked as an independent Christian college until 2013 when it merged with the Theological Institute of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Seminary). One of the main reasons behind this step were very strict accreditaion standards that Estonian Governement implemented during 2009-2012. On account of this Academy and Seminary weren’t able to sustain State accreditation (which is mandatory in Estonia in order to run a school) without merger. As we were able to find common ground on Bible-based teaching we were able to make this step.
  • Home of Hope dedication

    Home of Hope is a facility that is home to Tartu Academy of Theology and as well an Outreach Center with several Christian ministries.

Tartu Academy of Theology

Tartu Academy of Theology, or simply TAT, is located in the Estonian city of Tartu.

TAT was founded in the Autumn of 1992. Eight Lutheran pastors from USA visited Estonia earlier that year and met with pastor Eenok Haamer. He shared his vision of Christian College as there was big need to train Christian leaders. These pastors decided to support his initiative financially. This was starting point for TAT founding activities. Since beginning is TAT a Strategic Ministry Partner of East European Missions Network.

Eight Lutheran pastors from USA are having a meeting with Eenok Haamer in Estonia, March 1992.

TAT worked as an independent Christian college until 2013 when it merged with the Theological Institute of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Seminary). One of the main reasons behind this step were very strict accreditaion standards that Estonian Governement implemented during 2009-2012. On account of this Academy and Seminary weren't able to sustain State accreditation (which is mandatory in Estonia in order to run a school) without merger. As we were able to find common ground on Bible-based teaching we were able to make this step.

Pastor Ove Sander is rector of a joint school (TAT and Seminary). He made his master degree at the American Free Lutheran Seminary, located in Medicine Lake, Minneapolis.

Academy is now a separate department within the Seminary, maintaining the TAT name and identity. As the result of the merger, a single strong Christian college was created to prepare Lutheran pastors, as well as to train Christian lay leaders and specialists to serve as Pastoral Care Givers, Christian Youth Workers, Chaplains, Christian Family Therapists, etc.

Additionally, the merger has provided for better stewardship of gifts, as the two institutions now share both professors and administrative costs, resulting in a more fruitful preparation of pastoral students and church workers at the graduate and undergraduate levels. We are experiencing exciting results as enrollments increase and successful accreditation has been achieved.

 

TAT Connections with Estonian History

Miracle–'The Singing revolution'

There is only one country on earth that gained its independence without taking any life and without sacrificing a drop of blood! That country is Estonia. It was suffering under the oppression of Soviet Russia for 50 years. The people did not express their aspiration for freedom with weapons but with singing. It became known as the “Singing Revolution” and the chain of events led to our reindependence in August 1991.

Does that story seem like something out of a fairytale? We, as a nation, have experienced that wonderful events are not just for beautiful stories, but have been real in our history. Why did it became a reality – because of a strong will of a nation or the strong power of prayer? We do believe power of prayer and proclaim that this was God's answer to the prayers. Although beacuse of 50 years of aggressive Soviet atheistic propaganda percentage of Christians in our country dropped from 98% to about 10%. We still have remnant of prayerfull Christians who proclaim their faith.

 

The tool of God

But how do we proclaim? There are many ways to do so, but every country has to find its own way. One of God’s tools in Estonia is TAT. This school was established with the aim to gather Christians from different denominations and to train new generation of Christian leaders. Because of persecution in the 1940s, the Lutheran church lost 70% of pastors in the first 10 years of Soviet occupation. This sad history is still having a strong influence but we need to step out against this.

The founder of the TAT is a Lutheran pastor, Eenok Haamer. His hope is that all the damage caused by Soviet occupation throughout 50 years will be cleared up one day. Today we are called to share with Estonians a strong testimony about our living God who is our only hope. Because of that we had given a vision for Home of Hope that is home to several significant Christian ministries, creating a very visible Christian Outreach Center to empower and equip Christians. Our goal is to change the future of this one nation, knowing that the results of this will reach out beyond the Estonian borders to the East and West.

Siimon Haamer is 3rd generation Lutheran pastor and carrying on the legacy of his father and grandfather. As his father is retired from Academy's administrative work is Siimon holding dean postition and is running the school and also Home of Hope.

Pastors Siimon & Eenok Haamer