Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church


Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church
Tallinn Cathedral from S.JPG
St Mary's Cathedral, Tallinn
Classification Protestant
Orientation Lutheranism
Polity Episcopal
Associations Lutheran World Federation,
World Council of Churches,
Conference of European Churches,
Porvoo Communion
Geographical areas Estonia
Origin 1949
Congregations 164
Members 160,000 (2005)[1]
Official website http://www.eelk.ee/

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (Estonian: Eesti Evangeelne Luterlik Kirik) is a Lutheran church in Estonia. EELC is member of the Lutheran World Federation. It is also a member of the Porvoo Communion, putting it in full communion with the Church of England and other Anglican churches in Europe.

Contents

History

The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) was constituted in 1949, when the previous church hierarchy, Eesti Evangeeliumi Luteriusu Kirik, headed by bishop Johan Kõpp, had escaped to Sweden in 1944. When the Soviet Union invaded Estonia in 1940, most Christian organizations were dissolved, church property was confiscated, theologians were exiled to Siberia, and religious education programs were outlawed. World War II 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 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.

Membership

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.[2] 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.[3]

Leadership

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

References

External links



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