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- Origin of Orthodoxy in Estonia.
- Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.
- Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

Origin of Orthodoxy in Estonia

The first documentary evidences on the advent of Orthodoxy on the Estonian land date back to the XII century, but, undoubtedly, it became firmly established in 1030 together with the foundation of the city of Yuryev (Tartu) by the Russian Prince Yaroslav Wise.

Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church

The spread of Orthodoxy was not very intensive, however, it has always been a gospel bringing peace and brotherhood to the people; and only those who expressed their wish to accept the Holy Baptism joined it.
It is well known that already in the first half of the XII century in Novgorod and Pskov dioceses there were rules to be followed for notifying Estonians on the coming baptising. It was prescribed by Nifont, the bishop of Novgorod (1130-1156), to notify Estonians 40 days before the baptising ceremony. The development of close and good-neighbourly relations between Estonians and Russians and the spread of Orthodoxy in the Baltic region were suspended by the invasion of German knights in the early XIII century. Northern War had a major effect on the life of the population of Baltic coast and pushed many reforms. Even before Peace Treaty in 1721 new Orthodox churches started emerging to meet the needs of local inhabitants as well as the military.

During the first years after the Northern War Orthodox churches were governed by Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Stefan (Yavorsky), but in March 1725 the parishes of Livonian and Estonian provinces were handed over to the Pskov diocese headed by Archbishop Theofan (Prokopovich). In 1764 the parishes of Estonian province were handed over to Metropolitan of St Petersburg. With a view to ensuring direct control a new Clerical Board of Estonia was established. In 1817 Reval Vicariate under St Petersburg Diocese was established. Vicar bishops directly ran orthodox parishes in Northern Estonia, but they resided in the capital and visited the Vicariate very infrequently. In spite of all the difficulties, by 1866, the last year of Archbishop Platon' rule in the diocese of Riga, the number of orthodox believers reached 180 000, the congregation increased by 40 000.
On the 10th of May 1920 the joint meeting of the Holy Synod and Supreme Clergy Council of the Russian Orthodox Church after discussing the situation in the Pskov diocese and Reval Vicariate, which were on the territory of Estonia, declared Estonian Orthodox Church an autonomous. In October 1920 Alexander Paulus, a priest of the Transfiguration church in Pärnu, was elected as Bishop of Reval. This election was approved by Patriarchy Tihon, and on 5 December 1920 the ceremony of bishop consecration was held in St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
In September 1922 the Council of the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church took the decision to address the Patriarch of Constantinople, Melety IV, with a petition to adopt the Estonian Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and to declare it autocephalous. Later on the Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia Alexander wrote that it was done under an intense pressure of the state. On 7 July 1923 in Constantinople Melety IV presented the Tomos on the adoption of Estonian Orthodox Church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople as a separate church autonomy "Estonian Orthodox Metropolia".
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Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.

Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate is a semi-autonomous diocese of the Patriarchate of Moscow whose primate is appointed by the Holy Synod of the latter. Its official name in English is the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate. This church numbers roughly 150,000 faithful in 31 congregations and is the largest Orthodox Church in Estonia.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Estonia was a part of the Imperial Russian Empire, having been conquered by the emperor Peter the Great. A significant number of Estonian peasants were converted to the Orthodox faith in the hope of obtaining land.
Numerous Orthodox churches were built. In 1850 the Diocese of Riga (in Latvia) was established by the Russian Orthodox Church and many Estonian Orthodox believers were included. In the late 19th century, a wave of Russification was introduced, supported by the Russian hierarchy but not by the local Estonian clergy.
The Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Tallinn and the Pukhtitsa Convent in East Estonia were also built around this time.
In 1917, the vicariate of Revel (the historical name of Tallinn, the current Estonian capital), was established within the diocese of Riga. In 1920, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church decided to establish the autonomous Estonian Orthodox Church on the territory of the independent state of Estonia. The Russian Orthodox Church confirmed the autonomous status of the Estonian Orthodox Church in 1993.
The current primate of the church is Cornelius (Yacobs), Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia, elected in 2000.
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Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

The Church of Estonia or Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church is an autonomous Orthodox church whose primate is confirmed by the Church of Constantinople. Its official name in English is the Estonian Orthodox Church.
In 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, and on February 20, 1996, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I renewed the tomos granted to the OCE in 1923, restoring its canonical subordination to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The current primate of the church is His Eminence Stephanos, Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia (elected 1999).
This autonomous church should not be confused with the church of the same name which is an exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate.
An agreement was reached in which local congregations could choose which jurisdiction to follow. The Orthodox community in Estonia, which accounts for about 14% of the total population, remains divided, with the majority of faithful (mostly ethnic Russians) remaining under Moscow. As of a government report of November 2003, about 20,000 believers (mostly ethnic Estonians) in 60 parishes are part of the autonomous church, with 150,000 faithful in 31 parishes, along with the monastic community of Pukhitsa, paying allegiance to Moscow.
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