The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (ELCL)^
Latvijas Evaņģēliski luteriskā Baznīca (LELB)
History: .The beginnings of Christianity in Latvia go back to the 12th century. The Baltic and Finnic tribes, inhabiting what was long called Livonia, were converted mainly during the period 1180-1290. The first Catholic bishop was consecrated in 1186. Riga became one of the first cities to actively support Luther’s ideas and Luther himself addressed several letters to the citizens of Riga. The Livonian capital Riga sympathized with the ideas of the Reformation already in early 1520 and was reformed in 1522 by the theologian Andreas Knopken. The Livonian Confederation was the first territory outside of the Holy Roman Empire to adopt the Reformation.
The creation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918 was accompanied by significant changes in the structure and the spiritual life of the Lutheran Church in Latvia. Already in 1919 there were 194 Lutheran congregations in Latvia, including 20 German-speaking congregations. In 1920 the Consistory of Courland was abolished, in January, 1922, the Consistory of Livland was abolished, and in 1922, February 21-24, the 1st Synod of the ELCL took place. The Synod elected Kārlis Irbe as the 1st Bishop of the ELCL. In 1928 the Church Constitution was adopted.
After 45 years of ideological oppression people joined in the struggle for a truly dynamic, independent and free religious life. Since then, the ELCL has gone through a liturgical renewal, has renewed mission and diaconal work and has established an educational institution for the formation of new clergy – the Luther Academy.
^ Denotes Observer