by Elaine Lillback, FHM reporter
“Helsinki Churches” greets you! Four FHM members presented four different churches
that are all located in Helsinki, Finland at our regular meeting this month.
Carol Vrabel presented Tuomio Kirkko, the Helsinki Cathedral, also known as the "white
church." Her husband John Vrabel presented the other large church, the Uspenski Cathedral.
These two were followed by Anne Pohto, with her description and pictures of the Tempeliaukio
Church which is commonly called the "rock church." Finally, Paula Hern showed pictures and
discussed the Kamppi Chapel of Silence, just recently constructed. (at right:L to R John Vrabel, Paula Hern, Carol Vrabel, and Anne Pohto)
THE HELSINKI CATHEDRAL, TUOMIOKIRKKO, OR THE WHITE CHURCH
The Tuomiokirkko means Judgment Church, said Carol Vrabel. It is located in the neighborhood of Kruununhaka in the neighborhood of Helsinki on the north side of Senate Square. Built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, until Finland’s independence in 1917, when it was called the Great Church. Following a fire in Helsinki, it destroyed ¼ of the center of Helsinki. It was modeled after the capital of St. Petersburg.
Tsar Alexander l appointed German born Carl Ludwig Engel as the architect of Helsinki in 1816. It took him ten years to design. He continued his work until his death in 1840; his successor Ernst Lohrmann continued the work, seeing its consecration in 1852.
The roofline features statues of theTwelve Apostles overlooking the city and harbor. They are part of the design changes made by Lohrmann. Inside the church are statues of the great men of the Lutheran Reformation, Martin Luther and Philipp Melankthon, Mikael Agricola, and Ville Vallgren.
There are three musical organs in the cathedral.
Great art pieces are displayed on the altarpiece designed by Karl von Neff and Engel. Four laurel wreaths symbolize the four Evangelists of the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The monument's steps(about 60-70) were the idea of Alexander I, who dabbled in architecture. The entrance to the Lutheran Cathedral is from the West side of the building.
THE USPENSKI CATHEDRAL, OR THE FINNISH ORTHODOX CHURCH
The Uspenski Cathedrali is located on the Atajanokka Peninsula, which overlooks Helsinki. John showed one picture slide, that shows both churches rising high above other buildings, quite prominently.
The church was designed by Aleksi Gornostajev and was built after his death in 1862. The Virgin Mary is commemorated in her resurrection and taken to heaven. The church is similar in size to the Tuomio but is slightly smaller. There are approximately sixty thousand members
The structure is striking with its deep red brick walls, punctuated by the green roofs and the gold onion domes. The red bricks originate from the Aland Bomarsund fortress in the Baltic. The cathedral houses a rich display of icons and other typical orthodox decorations.
Attempts have been made to steal some of these icons, with St. Nicholas, the Wonder Maker disappearing in broad daylight. The Wonder Maker icon is shown at left.
In the twentieth century, Anna, the daughter of a wealthy Russian family from Viipuri became very ill. Her family sent for Father John of Kronstadt. The priest could not come and instead sent an icon of the Anagia (Mary) and told the family to pray in front of it.
Anna was completely healed. Anna's mother gave the icon to the local church where the healings continued.
The icon was stolen in February of 2011. A man imprisoned for theft told police where the icon had been buried in a forest in Turkku. Although the picture was covered in dirt, the 156 year old icon was restored, and formally returned to Uspenski. That original icon is depicted in the photo at right.
The photo to the left shows the icon after it was recovered from its brief burial.
For additional information, see:
TEMPELLIAUKIO CHURCH--OR THE CHURCH OF THE ROCK
The Tempeliaukio Church or the Church of the Rock, is located in the Töölö neighborhood in Helsinki. The church exists because of a design competion conducted early in the 1930's. A plan by J.S. Siren was selected as winner, but the construction never started due to the start of WWII. After the war, another competition saw architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in 1961. The church was built over the course of one year 1968 to 1969, with
consecration in September of 1969, related Anne Pohto who has visited the church herself.
Anne showed pictures of the outside showing the granite rock and the prominent copper
dome with glass skylights. The church was of course criticized by those who could not
accept the most unusual design, with comments like "rock mosque" and "defence bunker."
The church however is one of the most visited attractions in Helsinki, with over a half
million seeing its unique design and experiencing its wonderful accoustics.
Construction included a thirteen mile long ribbon of copper to forge the dome. The
inside walls are of the natural bedrock and quarried stone. The altar is made of sawn
granite. The stone floors are polished. The walls naturally bleed water, but that is
carried away by floor drains especially made for that purpose.
Viekko Virtanen built the pipe organ, consisting of 3001 pipes and 43 stops. This is
a no bell church. They are played via a recording when necessary.
For additional information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temppeliaukio_Church
THE KAMPPI CHAPEL OF SILENCE
Kamppi Chapel of Silence is located on Simonkatu 7 off of Mannerheim in the Narinkka
Square in one of the busiest areas of Helsinki. Paula Hern, who has experienced the Chapel said that the area was originally occupied by Russian Jews who sold merchandise there. Narinkka in Russian means "on the market." It was also occupied by military training groups in 1929. At one time the spot served as a
bus depot, now it is home to the Kamppi Chapel of Silence.
The Chapel was built for the 2012 World Design Capital Program in Helsinki. The design city is chosen on a revolving basis, with this year's design program in Capetown, South Africa. The Council of Societies of Industrial Design makes the choice of city to recognize
and to award those cities who develop a unique design.
The Chapel is ecumenical and has an open door to anyone regardless of his religious beliefs. The Helsinki Social Services Department oversees daily operation, in partnership with the Helsinki Parish Union.
The construction is unique in that the wood materials completely blocks out the city noises and confusion. Soft day lighting comes from skylights which are not directly seen, hiding behind the ceiling and spilling the light to the interior. At night, sensors adapt to human movement and adjust the light accordingly. The exterior is made of horizontal spruce that were bent and pigmented and further treated with nanotech wax.
The interior, other than the concrete entrance corridor, is made of alder wood which has been treated with a mixture of tar and linseed oil. The benches are made of solid ash. All of the materials are from Finland.
The Chapel conducts no services, no functions, other than to serve as a tranquil respite to collect one's thoughts and to re-energize through meditation.
Paula said: "Last summer, I went twice to visit Kamppi Chapel. I had been shopping and sightseeing all
morning and I needed a quiet place to sit and relax and rest. It was a peaceful, tranquil place to rest the eyes, ears and shrink from the hustle, bustle of the busy city life outside." See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamppi_Chapel
See all of Helsinki's churches at: http://www.helsinginkirkot.fi/fi
Refreshments for tonight's presentations were provided lovingly by hostesses Janine
La Bounty and Jovette Hiltunen
Text ©Elaine Lillback, photos (execept icons) © Bill Lukshaw