Our History

The History of Tartu Academy of Theology

During the occupation, Christian children and youth work was forbidden because the young generation was to be brought up as the builder's of communism. Christianity was considered one of the wrong and dangerous ideologies for the society. Attempts to do some official Christian education and youth work failed. All that was left was to move underground. The science of theology lived in hope for a better tomorrow.

That brighter tomorrow came on the 8th of April 1989 when the course for religion teachers was started both in Tallinn and in Tartu.

For the spring of 1992, it was obvious that this work had to continue but in a different form. In the end of March of 1992 a team of pastors from the United States met with the course of religion teachers, who showed the work that was done. Up to that time the course that was working under the Tartu University research and supplement education center had already given out 69 teachers. Americans liked what they saw and they founded and organization called Lutheran Estonian American Friends (LEAF) to support Christian education in Estonia.

16th of September 1992 based on the religion teacher's course, Tartu Academy of Theology was founded. To assure the academical and ecumenical direction of the school - there were representatives from different churches that belonged to the founding assembly: Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Orthodox Church of Estonia, Estonian Methodist Church and Union of Free Evangelical and Baptist Churches of Estonia.

Founding committee affirmed TAT's first board and elected professor Eenok Haamer as a rector of the school.

On the 28th of September on 1992 Estonian Ministry of Education issued a license to our BA curriculum.

In January 1993 first students were enrolled and official study period started on the 1st of February.

13th of October Estonian Educational Ministry renewed our license with added specialties: Christian education, pastoral counseling, Christian media and youth work.

On the 1st of February on 2005 minister of Education granted us full accreditation

On the 30th of May 2006 TAT obtained a license for Master degree studies.

Throughout TAT's existence, we have received support  from sponsors both from abroad and from Estonia and rented different facilities in the city of Tartu. A lot of voluntary work has been done for TAT.

Today we have over 70 students studying in Tartu Academy of Theology. Our alumni are working as journalists, counselors, youth and social workers, as chaplains, church ministers, also as diplomats and personnel leaders in different government offices.  They  have started and are running different organizations and projects.