After Estonia had claimed independence in 1918 and the Tartu peace treaty had been signed in 1920, the Old Believers lost contacts with their Russian fellows in faith. An administrative center was necessary to coordinate activities, to support the Old Belief and traditional way of life. According to the census of 1922, about 10000 Old Believers lived compactly in Prichudye municipality of Tartu County and in the largest cities of Tallinn and Tartu.

On November 21, 1923, a gathering of all Prichudye Old Believers took place in the worship house of Kasapel village. In fact, the meeting performed the functions of the congress. An experienced preceptor F. Savostkin, who was a deputy of All-Russian and Baltic Old Believers' congresses before the revolution, made a presentation. His speech and advice were appreciated because of his deep knowledge of Old Believers' life and tradition. The issue of the Old Believers' central administration organ was on agenda. Poland, Lithuania and Latvia already had similar centers. In 1924, the 3d Old Believers’ congress initiated creation of the centre, but the official registration of Old Believer communities was necessary to carry out the plan. Another meeting of the representatives of the Old Believer communities of Estonia was held in Kasepel on February 27, 1925. On April 24, the congress of preceptors and readers (nachetchiki), where the representatives of 5 communities and about 100 people of audience were present, took place. The agenda included various questions: marriages, substitutions, beard shaving, smoking, church chant, preceptors, religious devotion, admission of the married to the klyros, etc. The opportunities to create the union of the communities were discussed.

In 1924-1926, 12 Old Believer communities were registered, predominantly of the Pomorian concord: the communities of Tallinn, Tartu, Mustvee, Kallaste, Raja (Fedoseyan), two Kolki (one of them Fedoseyan), Kasapel, Kikita, Varnya, Piirissaare (Mezha) and Saareküla.

In 1928, the two congresses defined the structure of the Old Belief Church of Estonia. A special committee was set up at the 4th Congress in Mustvee (February 28, 1928) to work on the charter and to elaborate the principles of the Union’s work. On July 17-19, a number of presentations was made in Kallaste: “On religious devotion” (P. P. Baranin), “On the divine service and chant” (preceptor F. P. Savostkin), “On the restoration of church processions (krestnye khody) on feast days» (I. A. Dolgoshev), «On teaching of the Biblic law in schools» (L. S. Murnikov), « On the celebration of holidays according to the old calendar style in schools» (P. P. Baranin). The decision was made on the regulation of ritual aspects and adoption of the Charter of the Old Belief Church of Estonia. The two committees were formed: 1) for the control of participants’ plenary powers; 2) for consideration of the proposal on the central board of the Old Believers of Estonia. The congress discussed canonical, ritual and current problems. As a result, the separated communities were consolidated into the union that was a self-regulating organization with the rights of a juridical person. The Union had fraternal intercourse with other Old Belief Churches. The greetings from the Old Believers of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania were read out at the congress. The Gospel, regulations of Saint Apostles and Ecumenical Councils as well as christening, nuptial and repentance rites made the spiritual basis for the consolidation of Old Believers.

According to the Charter, the Old Believers' Congress (general meeting) to be convened annually by the Central Old Believer Council of Estonia, was the supreme power of the Union. As a rule, the time and place for the next congress was announced by the Council in the end of the congress, or the representatives of at least a third of the communities gathered to decide on the next congress. The members of the Old Believer Central Council, all preceptors and the representatives of the communities had the right to vote. The representatives were elected at the general meeting of the community: two representatives from 500 community members, three from 500 to 1000 and 1 representative for every next 500 members. The preceptors without the written empowering document issued by the community did not partake of the congress plenary powers. The congress was authorized to decide upon the following questions: elections of the members of the Central Old Believer Council, Ecclesiastical and Auditing Committee and other accredited representatives; consideration of all kind of questions pertaining to the church life, both ethical-spiritual and managerial. The agenda was worked out and distributed 4 weeks before the congress. The resolutions of the congress were adopted by the majority vote. In case of the equal distribution of votes, the chairman had a casting vote. The decision to expel a community from the Church (union) was to be adopted by the majority (two thirds) of representatives.

The first Central Old Believer Council was elected at the 5th Congress. It consisted of the chairman Y. Y. Grishakov, the members P. P. Baranin (the member of the Parliament), F. F. Prussakov, I. A. Dolgoshev and the secretary Z. A. Kuznetsov. The Council was to be situated in Tartu. The minutes of the 5th Old Believers’ Congress of July 17-19, 1928, together with the Charter and papers, were published. The Ecclesiastical Committee was elected to help the Council in consideration of ecclesiastical issues. The Committee consisted of three members: F. P. Savostkin, S. A. Kuznetsov and G. Y. Sysh’ikov. F. F. Pavlov, K. A. Malyshev and L. S. Murnikov were elected the members of the Auditing Committee.

After the Council elections, F. F. Prussakov made the presentation “The building of the Old Believery after religious emancipation”, where he outlined the history of the Old Belief concords. Although the speaker pointed out their kinship, the chairman did not support the discussion of the issue.

After the 5th Congress, in 1929-1939, nine congresses were held. They discussed canonical and current problems of the Estonian Old Believery. A lot of attention was paid to the problems of education of young people in the spirit of the Old Belief and attracting them to faith via church music and chant. The Tartu Congress of 1929 discussed the opportunities of founding the Baltic school for preceptors and development of the special spiritual education for Old Believers’ children.

Every year the Old Believers of Estonia asked for Government’s permission to celebrate religious holidays in accordance with the old calendar style in schools. The congresses discussed management problems of the communities and the Union on the whole. Until the mid-1930s, the communities were fully represented at the congresses. Honorable guests, for example the chairman of the Polish Supreme Old Believer Council B. A. Pimonov, chairman of the Ecclesiastical Committee of Latvian Old Believers and preceptor A. I. Yekimov, members of the Riga Circle of Zealots of Antiquity headed by I. Zavoloko, were present at almost all congresses.

Until 1936, the congresses were regular: in Tartu on November 3-4, 1929 (the 6th); in Voronye on October 19-20, 1930 (the 7th); on Piirissaar Island on 11-12 July, 1933, on the St Peter and St. Paul feast-day (the 8th); in Mezha village (Piirissaar) on July 11-12, 1933 (the 9th); in Big Kolki village on August 15-16, 1934 (the 10th); in Tartu on February 12, 1935 (the 11th); in Tallinn on June 23-24, 1936 (the 12th).

Due to the new law on religious societies of December 13, 1934, a new Charter was adopted at the 11th Congress. The new current issues were on agenda. The 12th Congress of 1936 decided to transfer the Council from Tartu to Tallinn. Then the congresses were not conducted for two years, and the Prichudye Old Believers, who lived far from Tallinn, were dissatisfied by the state of affairs. The next 12th Congress took place in Kikita village in the end of December of 1938. The chairman of the Central Old Believer Council P. P. Baranin made a presentation on the Union’s activities for the last two and a half years. The audience was not content by the presentation. K. A. Malyshev, L. Y. Grishakov. K. S. Berezin, Y. Kulkov, P. Savostkin, A. Artashev, G. Venchikov and V. Sofronov were elected the members of the new Council by a secret voting. The change of Charter’s § 25 (on the presence of the chairman of the board during the adoption of decisions) was discussed. Representatives reported on the activities of Tartu, Tallinn and Kikita communities. The Congress decided to transfer the Council from Tallinn to Mustvee. K. S. Berezin (chairman), Y. Kulkov (secretary) and G. Venchikov (treasurer) were elected the members of the board. L. Y. Grishakov (Tartu) was elected the chairman of the Council of the Union. The last 14th Congress was held on July 5, 1939 in Mustvee. After preceptor Koletsky’s presentation on the history of the Christian Church, the problem of the youth’s departure from faith and church was discussed. The Congress considered the question of the Old Believers’ conversion to Baptism in the village of Kikita, where the Old Beliver and Baptist worship houses stand side by side. The Riga preceptor K. R. Portnov held a sermon.

Under the Soviet rule, the Union of Old Believer Communities of Estonia ceased its work and the congresses were not held. The Union was restored in 1995. 11 registered communities joined it: 7 Prichudye village communities (Raja, Kasepää, Kikita, Small Kolki, Big Kolki, Varnja, Piirissaar) and 4 city communities (Mustvee, Kallaste, Tartu and Tallinn).

In the 1990s, the congresses were held irregularly. On November 24, 1998, the Congress of Old Believer communities, held in Kallaste, elected Pavel Grigoryevich Varunin the chairman, Vladimir Lavrentyevich Grishakov the vice chairman and Pavel Petrovich Varunin the secretary of the Old Believers’ Union. From this time, regular annual congresses take place in Kallaste, usually in December. At present, there are about 15 thousand Old Believers by birth in Estonia, and the tradition of general councils (sobors) is restored.