Kerimäki church

The church of Kerimäki is the world´s largest Christian wooden church and has the most spacious interior in Finland. It is 45 meters long, 42 meters wide and 27 meters high. The hight of the dome is 37 meters. There are altogether 1670 meters of pews and a seating capacity for over 3000 people. Including standing room, the church can accommodate as many as 5000 people.

The vicker and dean Fredrik Neovius, who held office in the 1840´s, was of the opinion that half of the people of the parish should be able to meet for worships at the same time. The original design drawings were even sent back to enlarge the church to place 5000 people.

The huge church of Kerimäki was designed by the Finnish architect A.F. Granstedt and the construction was completed on September 25th 1847.

The construction of the church took place under the direction of church-builder Axel Magnus Tolpo, but after his sudden death his son Theodor Tolpo took over. The parishioners had to take part in the building according to their income bracket. Every man aged between 15 and 60 was obliged to participate in the building. The church was completed in three years.

The church of Kerimäki is a short-armed double cruciform church. It is a miracle of it´s own time, a masterpiece of carpentry with it´s pews, columns, galleries, tie beams, arches, dome and lanters.

The altarpiece was painted by Aleksandra Såltin in 1890. The organ, which has a registration of twenty stops and was constructed by the Kangasala organ factory, was mounted in 1894.

There is no permanent heating in the church, and therefore it is used in the summertime and another time only in special occasions. Early in the Christmas morning the parishioners gather in the cold church, which is lit by hundreds of candles and thus filled with a warm atmosphere. In the summer about 50 000 people from all over the world come to visit the church. The church is an integral part of the local identity and famous place for weddings, concerts and  festivals.

During the wintertime services are held in the small church built beside the huge church in 1953.