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The Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church

In April 1996 delegations from the two sides met in Zurich, Switzerland, and reached an agreement in principle. On May 16 both Holy Synods formally adopted the recommendations made at the Zurich meeting. The agreement provided for parallel jurisdictions in Estonia, and allowed individual parishes and clergy to join either the Estonian autonomous church under Constantinople or the diocese that would remain dependent on Moscow. For its part, Constantinople agreed to a four-month suspension of its February 20th decision to re-establish the Estonian autonomous church. Moscow agreed to lift the penalties that had been imposed on clergy who had joined the autonomous church. Both Patriarchates agreed to work together with the Estonian government, so that all Estonian Orthodox might enjoy the same rights, including rights to property. As a result of this agreement, full communion was restored between Moscow and Constantinople, and the name of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was again included in the diptychs in Moscow.

On March 9, 1999, a Congress of the autonomous Estonian church met in Tallinn to consider the fact that the church still did not have a resident hierarch. Archbishop John of Finland, the locum tenens presided over the meeting at which representatives from the Patriarchate of Constantinople were also present. The Congress acknowledged that no appropriate Estonian candidate to head the church had come forward, and so decided to ask the Patriarchate to appoint Bishop Stephanos of Nazianzus (assistant bishop to the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of France, resident in Nice) to that position. On March 13, 1999, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople accepted this request and elected Stephanos Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia. The Holy Synod asked Stephanos to reorganize the church and, in due time, to oversee the formation of a local Estonian episcopate.

In 2006 it was reported that the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church had fifty-nine congregations with approximately 18,000 members and the Estonian Orthodox Church, subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, had thirty congregations with approximately 150,000 members. The large Pühtitsa monastery for nuns also opted to remain within the diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Location: Estonia
Head: Metropolitan Stephanos (born 1940, elected 1999)
Title: Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia
Residence: Tallinn, Estonia
Membership: 18,000
Website: www.orthodoxa.org and http://www.eoc.ee/


Last Modified: 30 Mar 2012


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