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13.08.2020

Rovaniemi Church

Rovaniemi Church is located in Finnish Lapland, in the center of Rovaniemi. The 850-seat church was designed by architect Bertel Liljekvist in 1950. The previous church building was burned down during the Lapland War on 16 October 1944.

A special feature of the church is the cross on the roof, illuminated by a red light. At one time, the choice of colour was widely debated. The colour of the cross is red because it means "Bloody cross on a bond".

In 2005, the Rovaniemi church was renovated. The most notable change was the renewal of the copper aquifer.

A large altar fresco 14 metres high and 11 metres wide was created by Professor Lennart Segerstrole in 1951. The work is called "The Source of Life".

The fresco sketch was completed before the war in 1936 and was first seriously nominated for the Rajamäki Church. The artist gave the parish of Nurmijärvi a sketch, which together with two partial enlargements of the artist is in the parish hall of the Rajamäki Church. The artist's final work was influenced by the devastation of Lapland in the last war year. This is how he himself described the work:

"It is thus the cross section of every human heart, on the one hand the desire of the reconciled robber to enter into contact with God and his plan, and on the other hand the negative attitude of the incompatible robber; in the middle stands Christ Himself as the price of redemption. It is reflected in the source of life, in our conscience, in the pure light of honesty and unselfishness. All this was created around Lapland, because the Church in Rovaniemi will be the heart of its spirit.

The interior of the church, decorative paintings and stained-glass windows are by Antti Salmenlinna. The theme of the church is traditional northern Finnish life. In the original paintings of the church a symbolic biblical sheep is replaced by a deer. In the church there are images of evangelists carved from wood by sculptor Gunnar Uotila with their coats of arms, as well as a large-scale sculpture on the theme of a Lappish swan that feeds its chicks with its own blood.

The Church Hall organ is a 45-voiced organ made at the Christensen factory.

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