Karja church is rich with ornaments and symbols. On each visit, new details seem to catch one's attention, which makes it one of my favorite churches to visit in Estonia. A unique feature of Karja church are the pagan symbols on the ceiling above the alter.
The people of Saaremaa were converted to Christianity by German crusaders in the 13th century, but apparently this was done partially by integrating pagan symbolism and rituals, as well as by building churches on pagan holy places.
The pagan plaited lattice symbol (below) was believed to hold off evil spirits.
These next two pagan symbols are a triskelion with a broken leg and a person looking backwards through it's legs (called a legged devil).
It remains a miracle that these symbols survived for over 700 years.
Kaarma church, another church on Saaremaa, has a large pentagram painted on a wall near the alter.
Copyright Otto de Voogd 2007