The Centralized Religious Organization "Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession" (hereinafter ELC AC) - was legally established by three parishes (Moscow, Krasnoyarsk and Ryazan) on June 28, 2006 under the name "Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia".
The reason for the creation of the church is the emergence of a certain number of Lutheran communities that do not agree with liberal tendencies and the influence of foreign Lutheranism, as well as ignoring the interests of some young communities in other Lutheran associations in Russia. The structures existing at that time simply refused to accept such communities into their composition.
Vladimir Sergeevich Pudov was elected President of the General Synod, and Daniel Sobolev was elected Bishop. However, later, due to the requirements of the existing legislation, the association was registered under the name "Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession".
Before the revolution of 1917, the Evangelical Lutheran Church existed in the Russian Empire as a single organization, without internal divisions. In the USSR, the Lutheran Church was completely liquidated. After the Soviet period, when the revival of Lutheranism began, it took place in several directions: German Lutheranism, Finnish, Russian. Today in Russia there are 6 registered Lutheran churches, each of which is independent, and all of them have an equal status before the state as centralized religious organizations representing various spiritual and theological traditions of modern world Lutheranism. None of these churches can be given preference by the state, since none of them is the legal successor of the pre-revolutionary Lutheran Church in full.
Soon after registration, several independent historical Lutheran parishes, as well as communities revived through the Mission of the Lutheran Hour Service, joined the ELC AC. At the General Synod, held on June 28-29, 2008, Vladimir Küntzel was elected the new bishop of the church. However, for health reasons, at the end of 2010, he laid down his powers. In 2011, at the General Synod of the ELC AC, the pastor of the Moscow parish of St. Michael Konstantin Andreev was elected bishop of the church.
The ELC AC recognizes Holy Scripture as the source of faith and dogma, recognizes the dogmatic decisions of the seven Ecumenical Councils and the Augsburg Confession of Faith as the true expression of the biblical doctrine.
In 2013, by the decision of the Mayor of Moscow S.S. Sobyanin ELC AC, the premises for the consistory and the parish in Moscow were transferred for free permanent use.
On November 24, 2014, ELC AC signed a partnership and communication agreement with the Old Catholic Church in Slovakia. ELC AC is in fraternal contacts with highly ecclesiastical Lutheran jurisdictions, church associations, movements and monasteries in Europe and other countries.
On October 19, 2016, Pavel Begichev was consecrated bishop with the transfer of the apostolic succession from eight bishops. On October 23, 2016, he was ordained as vicar bishop under the commanding bishop of the ELC AC. The ceremony was attended by the archbishop of the Old Catholic Church in Slovakia, Augustin Baczynski.
The ELC AC belongs to the conservative "high church" movement in Lutheranism, the bishops of ELC AC are ordained in accordance with the ancient Christian tradition of apostolic succession, the tradition of monasticism is recognized, and the ordination of women to priests and bishops is not allowed. However, in addition to the highly ecclesiastical ones, the ELC AC also includes the oldest German Pietist congregations and parishes of the evangelical low-church tradition. ELC AC is a convergent Lutheran church in which Old Catholic clergy also serve. Also in 2015, ELC AC initiated the creation of the autocephalous Church Province of St. Michael the Archangel within the World Council of National Catholic Churches, which was established in 2017 with the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch of the World Council of National Catholic Churches Augustine Bachinsky. Bishop Pavel Begichev was elevated to the rank of Archbishop, and then to the rank of Metropolitan of the Church Province of St. Michael the Archangel.
In March 2017, Konstanin Andreev resigned from the post of the head bishop of ELC AC. Alexander Franz was elected the new archbishop, Pavel Begichev was elected the first deputy archbishop of ELC AC.
In February 2018, V.S. Pudov resigned.
In 2019, Metropolitan Pavel Begichev was elected Ordinary General of ELC AC, and Alexander Franz was re-elected Archbishop of ELC AC.
There are six church districts in ELC AC on the territory of Russia:
- Central Church District;
Northern Church District;
West Siberian Church District;
East Siberian Church District;
Southern Church District;
Kaliningrad Church District;
ELC AC parishes not located in Russia form the ELC AC Foreign Church District, headed by Superintendent Daniil Suvor.