Historical background

It is likely that Orthodoxy was the first form of Christianity to arrive in Estonia, in the 11th century, before the Estonian territory fell under the sphere of influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

The history of Orthodox Christian parish schools in Estonia dates back to the 19th century. In 1860-1880, 1612 parish schools were operating in Estonia, of which 80,5% were Lutheran and 19,5% Orthodox. Denominational divisions were not strictly kept. For example, in 1885 17,9% of students in Orthodox parish schools were Lutheran.

A number of academics and statesmen in inter-war Estonia were graduates of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Riga, including the first President of the Republic of Estonia, Konstantin Päts (in office 1938-1940).