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.
As of 2006 the EELC reported approximately 200,000 members.
EELC is member of the Lutheran World Federation. 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.