KASSARI CHAPEL AND GRAVEYARD

Drive back the same way, turn right from the statue of Leiger and continue driving (about 2 km), until a sign points to Kassari chapel. This 1.5 km stretch of road is a gravel road. When you pass the Kassari community centre (white stone building on the left) and the Ristitee windmill, then stop near the graveyard gates.

Photo: Hanno Luukas
Photo: Hanno Luukas

Kassari chapel or the former subordinate church of Pühalepa church is a lovely, romantic building. Nowadays it is considered the only functioning stone church with a reed roof in Estonia. Presumably it originates from the 18th century, and the year 1801 inscribed on the inner wall of the chapel is associated with major reconstructions. According to the archive documents there was a little wooden chapel before the church we know now in that area. People say that a smaller additional room built on the side of the church was initially slated to be the final resting place for the Stackelbergs. In fact the Stackelbergs' burial plot is next to the chapel. Many other important figures in the history of the local culture have been buried in the graveyard (consult the information board by the gates). Through art and literature we know about the Beautiful Villem or Villem Tamm, whom the artist Johann Köler (1826-1899) used as a model when painting Jesus Christ for his altarpiece, which is now situated in Kaarli church in Tallinn, and named "Come to me all".

During the Soviet occupation, the church stood completely empty with the doors open. At that time, the bells of the church went missing; one of these was reclaimed later from parts unknown.

Greater damages were avoided with the help of the collective farm, enthusiasts and heritage protectors, but still, the future of the chapel was dark. Some smaller objects were deposited in the museum. But the benefit of these actions was that the chapel was re-inaugurated to church in 1992 for the satisfaction of local people and visitors of the island.

Legends and stories

Simple swineherd Vesingi Aadu from the manor was quite a legendary person, whose burial plot is next to the landlords' plots. As Aadu's simple mind was associated with the landlord's affection for punishments, it was like some kind of revenge when he was buried next to the landlords.

Aadu had the gift of gab. Once he was called to the landlord to explain how the pigs got out into the grain field. Aadu answered, "If the good Lord couldn't create the sow tight enough that the piglets wouldn't get out, how then could I have made the fence tight enough."