Church of Estonia (Ecumenical Patriarchate)
|Estonian Orthodox Church|
|Autocephaly/Autonomy recognized||1923, 1996 by Constantinople|
|Current primate||Metr. Stephanos|
|Official website||Church of Estonia|
The Church of Estonia or Estonian Orthodox Church (Eesti Apostlik-Õigeusu Kirik) is an autonomous Orthodox church.
1030 – The first mention of Orthodox congregations in Estonia.
17 th- 18 th centuries – The Old Believers fled from Russia to Estonia to avoid the changes in the Orthodox Church and persecution by the officials.
1850 – The Riga Diocese was established and Estonian Orthodox believers were also included.
18th-19th centuries – Estonia was a part of the Tsarist Russian Empire. A large number of Estonians, particularly country people, were converted to the Orthodox faith in the hope of obtaining land. Numerous Orthodox churches were built.
The end of the 19th century – A wave of Russification supported by the Orthodox Church (but not by most of the Estonian clergy). Building of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn and the Pukhtitsa Dormition Stavropegic Convent (Kuremäe) in East Estonia.
1917 – The first Estonian, Platon (Paul Kulbusch), was ordained Bishop of Riga and Vicar of Tallinn. Later in 1919, the Bolsheviks murdered Platon for political reasons. (In 2000, Bishop Platon was declared as a saint both by the Patriarchy of Constantinople and the Moscow Patriarchy.)
1920 – After the Estonian Republic was proclaimed in 1918, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Tikhon, recognised the Orthodox Church of Estonia (OCE) as being independent. Archbishop Aleksander Paulus was elected and ordained for life as the head of the OCE.
1923 – Archbishop Aleksander Paulus turned to the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive canonical recognition. The same year the OCE was canonically subordinated to the Patriarchy of Constantinople and gained extensive autonomy.
Until 1941 – One-fifth of the total Estonian population was Orthodox Christians under the Patriarchy of Constantinople. There were 158 parishes in Estonia, 183 clerics in the OCE. There was a Chair of Orthodoxy in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Tartu. There was a monastery in Petseri, two convents – in Narva and Kuremäe, a priory in Tallinn and a seminary in Petseri.
The ancient monastery in Petseri (Pechory, which used to belong to the Estonian Republic, now belongs to Russia) was preserved from the mass church destructions that occurred in Soviet Russia.
1940-1945 – In 1940, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union. In 1945, an authorised representative of the Patriarchy of Moscow dismissed the members of the OCE Synod who had remained in Estonia and established a new organisation – the Diocesan Council. Orthodox believers in occupied Estonia were now subordinated to a diocese within the Russian Orthodox Church.
Just before the second Soviet occupation in 1944, the Head of the Church, Metropolitan Aleksander went into exile, along with 21 clergymen and about 8 thousand Orthodox believers. The Orthodox Church of Estonia in Exile with Synod in Sweden continued its activity by the Statute until the restoration of Estonian independence in 1991.
1993 – The Synod of the Orthodox Church of Estonia in Exile was re-registered as the legal successor of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Estonia.
1996 – Bartholomeos, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, renewed the tomos granted to the OCE in 1923 by which the OCE restored its canonical subordination to the Patriarchy of Constantinople.
The Orthodox Church of Estonia (OCE) is an autonomous Church i.e. a local independent Orthodox Church. It has existed in Estonia as such since it was given autonomy by the Ecumenical Patriarchy of Constantinople in 1923. It was dissolved during the Stalinist occupation in 1945 and was restored legally in 1993 and canonically in 1996.
Estonian Orthodoxy Today
|Autocephalous and Autonomous Churches of Orthodoxy|
| Four Ancient Patriarchates: Constantinople | Alexandria | Antioch | Jerusalem |
Russia | Serbia | Romania | Bulgaria | Georgia | Cyprus | Greece | Poland | Albania | Czech Lands and Slovakia | OCA*
|Sinai | Finland | Estonia* | Japan* | China* | Ukraine*|
|The * designates a church whose autocephaly or autonomy is not universally recognized.|