The Challenges of Modernity to the Orthodox Church in Estonia and Latvia (1917-1940)

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After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, Orthodox Christians in Estonia and Latvia had to rethink their place in society and reorganise the local Orthodox Church. The Church was challenged both by the new political circumstances and by societal antagonism. In both cases, the local ecclesiastic authorities considered themselves independent from the Patriarchate of Moscow, although in very different fashions. This study uses primarily periodicals and other published sources from the period between 1917 and 1940 to shed light on the internal discussions in the respective Orthodox Churches on issues of authority, identity, and history. This includes creating adequate structures for the Church, reforming liturgical elements and emphasising the positive role of Orthodox Christianity in Estonian and Latvian history.