Church of the Nativity of Christ at Puski
The construction of the Church of the Nativity of Christ at Puski was begun on June 24th, 1889. One of the most beautiful churches on Hiiumaa at that time, it was consecrated on September 10th, 1891.
The way contemporaries described Easter (“Resurrection”) night in Puski gives one a sense of the church’s powerful presence. “When the Easter service ended, having lasted about three hours, the greetings and well-wishes began: “Christ is risen!” And the bells began to hail from the bell tower. Then all the churchgoers’ carriages drove off. Heavens! – When all seven church bells rang at once, how they thundered! Now Bell-Jüri got to show how worthy he was of his name. All of Lent had been waiting time for the bells, mourning time; but now the shutters were thrown open on all four sides of the bell tower, to let the pealing of bells fly through the silent night over the whole earth.” (Peeter Laredei. “Orthodoxy on Old Hiiumaa.” Tallinn 2006)
And yet, little more than a century later, the church at Puski is practically in ruins. The bells are gone from the tower, and it is impossible to gather in the church for worship. Puski village is empty, too, as if a plague had ravaged the land.
It is difficult to imagine what Puski church’s future might hold. There are no logical conjectures that would make it possible even to imagine seeing this once so awesome church in its original beauty and glory. “For people it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Where there exist the grace of God and love for neighbor, logic comes to an end and miracles occur. This is the condition of the Puski church: we cannot see the future and we do not know what will happen to it – God knows.
But what can we do?
We can make temporary space, at least, for God in our souls, receiving Him within us, to let Him sound in our souls. Precisely when we who unfortunately very rarely find it possible to hear God as a “sound of sheer silence” (1 Kings 19:12), in spite of this manage to entrust ourselves to His care, miracles begin to happen, breathtaking miracles. Only guided in the grace of God by the Holy Spirit do we grow and bear good fruit (Colossians 1:6).
Led by the grace of God and with the support of the local community, under the leadership of the Educational Society Edu we are, in fact, restoring the Church of the Nativity of Christ at Puski. This is a huge miracle, to which we can all help give birth, donating for the specific purpose to the donation account of the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God (in Estonian, “EAÕK Hiiumaa Jumalasünnitaja sündimise kogudus”), IBAN EE411010220109240010. Such a donation is tax-free.