Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Estonian: Eesti Evangeelne Luterlik Kirik) is a Lutheran church in Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. EELC is member of the Lutheran World Federation
Lutheran World Federation
The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of national and regional Lutheran churches headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The federation was founded in the Swedish city of Lund in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1947 to coordinate the activities of the...

. It is also a member of the Porvoo Communion
Porvoo Communion
The Porvoo Communion is a communion of 12 mainly northern European Anglican and Lutheran churches. It was established in 1992 by an agreement entitled the Porvoo Common Statement which establishes full communion between and among the churches...

, putting it in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 and other Anglican churches in Europe.


The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) was constituted in 1949, when the previous church hierarchy, Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteriusu Kirik, headed by bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 Johan Kõpp, had escaped to Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 in 1944. When the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invaded Estonia in 1940, most Christian organizations were dissolved, church property was confiscated, theologians were exiled to Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, and religious education programs were outlawed. World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 later brought devastation to many church buildings. It was not until 1988 that church activities were renewed when a movement for religious tolerance began in the Soviet Union.

Although women had studied theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 at Tartu University in the 1920s and some had sought ordination as priests, it was not until 1967 that the first woman, Laine Villenthal, was ordained.


As of February 2009, the EELC reported approximately 160,000 baptized members and the EELC Abroad (based in Canada) reported approximately 8,000 baptized members. A previous figure broke down the EELC Abroad into 3,508 members with 12 clergy in the USA and 5,536 members with 11 clergy in Canada.


The current Archbishop is the Most Rev. Andres Põder
Andres Põder
Andres Põder is the current Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia. He was elected in November 2004 and took office in February 2005. The Archbishop's See is located at St Mary's Cathedral, Tallinn.-References:...

. The Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church Abroad is the Most Rev. Dr Andres Taul, also a pastor of the Lutheran Church–Canada.

External links

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