Pöide Church

Pöide Church (Estonian: Pöide kirik) is located on Saaremaa island, in Pöide Commune, Saare County, Estonia.


The current building of Pöide Church is believed to be built on the remains of a chapel built in 13th century. After the conquest of Saaremaa in 1227, the eastern part of Saaremaa belonged to the Livonian Order, who built a fortress at Pöide as their headquarters during the second half of the 13th century. This fortress was destroyed by the Saaremaa natives during the wave of uprisings against the occupying forces that took place in Estonia and Saaremaa during St.George's Night Uprising of 1343. There was a chapel on the southern side of the fortress, and the walls of this chapel form the central part of Pöide church.

For its massive form, it is called fortress-church.

The building was looted and burnt during World War II and also used as a storage building. The building suffered severe damages in fire in 1940, when lightning struck the tower. The large crack in the tower from the lightning can still be seen today.

Cultural heritage

Pöide church has been renovated and reconstructed slowly since 1989. Choir-part, stone-altar and vestry room have been renovated. The main part of the building (including roof and spire) still awaits renovation.

Several big tombstones inside the church are exposed behind glass, showing the importance of the church as a cultural center for nearby communities during previous centuries. For example, a tombstone for a headless knight is in exposition. It is a tombstone for Heinrich von Schulmann, a nobleman from nearby Tumala estate, who was executed in 1613 (during the Danish reign) in Copenhagen for being politically connected with Swedish authorities.


Today, small Lutheran Pöide congregation is active with about 30 members. In summer, church services are held twice a month in the church building. During the winter, the services are held in nearby pastorate. On July 28, 2006 first catholic wedding was held in Pöide church after the Reformation.