The Lutheran Church of Vestiena

Abandoned Vestienas luterāņu church in Latvia

The Vestiena Lutheran Church, witness to centuries and historical changes, carries with it a troubled history and a future of rebirth thanks to the efforts of its custodians.

Abandoned Vestienas luterāņu church in Latvia

History of the Vestiena Lutheran Church

During the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Tysenhausen (1590 – 1598) built the first wooden Lutheran church on the shores of Lake Kāla in 1590. In 1620, the congregation passed to the general superintendent of Riga, Master Swiedrarn Hermanis Samsons. Under his care, a new stone church was built in the 17th century on the site of the old wooden church. While the church is unusable, services are held in the tavern.

The building was deliberately burnt down for the second time during the Soviet occupation in 1974 and was never rebuilt after the fire.

The church between films and books

The Lutheran church in Vestiena is still visible in all its glory in the Riga Film Studio’s feature filmThe Times of the Surveyors‘ (1968).

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the church was mentioned in the bookThe Day Book of Occupied Latvia‘. The author of the book describes the difficult condition of the building in the following words: the windows are intact, but the wide-open doors suggest that some vandals have broken in. Inside, the scene is bleak: ruined cornices, undone floors, water seeping from the ceiling. Some of the sacred heritage has already been lost, but the stained glass head of Jesus on the altar endures. Surprisingly, there is no trace of desecration, even though the altarpiece has been removed or looted. The years passed do not spare the church either, as evidenced by the date above the door: 1767. A plaque from the Monuments Board declares the church under state protection.

The Restoration of the Lutheran Church of Vestiena: The Work of the Petersons Brothers

In recent years the church has been restored by the Petersons Brothers: Aivars, Modris and Aldis.

Reconstruction works of the Vestienas luterāņu church done by the three brothers Petersoni: Aivars, Modris, Aldis

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