In the middle of the XVI century, Livonia collapsed. The lands north of the Dvina were ceded to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The Courland bishopric was sold to the Danish king. The northern part, together with Revel (Tallinn), fell under the authority of the King of Sweden Gustav P. Adolf. Courland remained at the mercy of Poland. In Daugavpils firmly established Jesuits.
However, in these difficult conditions, the Orthodox Church was not destroyed. In 1570 the Orthodox Episcopal Department was founded in Yuriev (Tartu), on which His Grace Bishop Cornelius was placed.
In Ilukste, according to the testimony of Jesuit A. Posevin, only Orthodox lived (1582). But it was precisely in these years that the widespread planting of Uniatism began as a transitional stage in the conversion of the Orthodox Church to Catholicism.
The middle of the XVII century is associated with the economic revival of Courland. Duke Jekab promotes the settlement in the area of modern Jekabpils exclusively Orthodox people who fled from religious persecution. Soon the ancient settlement near the estate Holmhof was raised to the city level with the name Jacobstadt. By this time, churches of St. Nicholas and Holy Spirit with a monastery.
However, the Swedes, taking Kurland, ravaged the duchy and captured Duke Jacob himself. The persecution of Orthodoxy began again.
Attitude to Orthodoxy began to change somewhat after 1710, when the Swedish Governor-General of Riga, Stromberg signed a surrender, and the Riga Magistrate, the German nobility and the burghers presented the keys to Riga to Sheremetev and took an oath of allegiance to Russia on the Town Hall Square. But here, in the area of the mouth of the Dvina, there was not a single Orthodox church.
Gradually, the Orthodox Church returned to its origins. Temples began to be built, new parishes were opened.
At the beginning of the 19th century, discussions began on issues related to the independence of the administration of the churches of the Baltic provinces.
After a while, the Holy Synod, with the highest permission, issues a decree on the establishment of vicarism in Riga. As the first vicar of the Pskov diocese, a highly educated, who speaks several languages, including German, Bishop Irinarch is appointed.
His Grace Irinarkh arrived in Riga in the autumn of 1836, and on November 8 he performed his first divine service in the Peter and Paul Church. From this time, bishop services began on Sundays and holidays, and the church began to be called the Peter-and-Paul Cathedral.
However, the stay of Bishop Irinarch in Riga turned out to be extremely difficult. It coincided with the beginning of a spontaneous mass transition of the local population to Orthodoxy; The German authorities, outraged by this circumstance, began persecution. They accused the vicar of incitement to revolt and, on the basis of denunciations, they secretly took him out of Riga to Pskov, and then under the supervision of the Pskov-Caves Monastery. In his case, the investigation began.
Bishop Filaret (Gumilevsky) was sent to Riga. Prior to that, he was the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy. His arrival (1842) was immediately met with hostility. Numerous instructions of the Holy Synod severely restricted his activities, hoping to pacify the German authorities and prevent the local population from converting to Orthodoxy. But this process, despite the brutal measures, largely went out of control and no still continued, albeit on a much smaller scale. Not only Lutherans were converted to Orthodoxy. On April 21, 1845, Bishop Filaret (Gumilevsky) performed at the Petro-Pavlovsky Cathedral in Riga, with a huge gathering of people, anointing of members of the Hernguter community who wished to convert to Orthodoxy.
This aggravated the negative attitude towards the vicar. They slander him, write denunciations, arrange surveillance. But the vicar continues his activity. He pays a lot of attention to the opening of the first Orthodox religious school in Riga with instruction in the Latvian and Estonian languages, and begins publishing in the native languages of liturgical and theological literature.
His Grace Bishop Philaret visits parishes, examines the condition of churches in the countryside. He takes care of parochial schools, the preparation of priests for the Latvian and Estonian parishes. But any of his activities are faced with the hostility of the authorities.
However, it was not possible to break Bishop Philaret. And then, probably, not without a secret petition, it is transferred to a higher department.