Since 1995, the Pastoral Seminary has been the place where the prospective candidates for ordained ministry have received their necessary preparation to be ordained in the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The Pastoral Seminary provides professional training for the prospective priest candidates who have higher specialised theological education (MA in Theology) and have passed the pro venia concionandi examination, carried out by the special examination board. The one year training course integrates pastoral theology with internship, individual learning, introductory lectures, reflections and practical training.
The Pastoral Seminary also provides training for those candidates who apply to become deacons in the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The main emphasis of the Pastoral Seminary study year is on spiritual growth (praxis pietatis), regular communal prayer and worship life of the Seminary, Bible study, counselling and pastoral care. Corporate and personal spiritual growth are of crucial significance for the candidates’ formation process and future ministry.
The Pastoral Seminary gives in depth knowledge in practical theology subjects: homiletics, liturgics, religious education, diaconal ministry, ecumenism, cybernetics and professional ethics for ordained ministry. Studies in the Pastoral Seminary are conducted mostly in the form of seminar and are organised as follows: individual learning, introductory lectures, internship and reflections. The ordination candidates also study Lutheran Confessional Writings, e.g. Lutheran Augsburg Confession and its relevance for today; liturgical singing, rhetorics; church legislation; economics; bookkeeping; record management. Besides this, they also receive training in heritage conservation and in several other necessary areas.
Internship supervisors and congregations where the internship is carried out, play an important role for the student both during the studies in the Pastoral Seminary and in his or her later ministry.
At the end of the study year the students will need to pass the pro ministerio concionandi examination, the prerequisite for applying for the ordination to the priesthood in the EELC. The examination will be conducted by the archbishop of the EELC.
Pastoral Seminary statistics:
Between 1995 and 2018, 132 persons have studied in the Pastoral Seminary, 110 of them have received the ordination as priests in the EELC.
Leaders of the Pastoral Seminary:
1995-1998 Revd Paul-Gerghardt Hoerschelmann;
1998-2012 Revd Ove Sander, PhD;
2012-2020 Bishop Einar Soone;
Since 2021 Revd Marko Tiitus