The history of Ylitornio's congregation goes back to the year 1482 on the era of the Sweden - Finland union.
At that time the central and upper valley of the river Tornio, both on the Swedish and the Finnish side, consisted of one congregation. In the peace of Hamina in 1809 the river Tornio became the border between Finland and Sweden. The border split the congregation in two and the church remained on the Swedish side.
On the czar's demand a new church was built on the Finnish side in 1816-1819. The church, however, was cold and poorly equipped. That's why it was only used in summertime.
The new church is built
The vicar Pekka Tapaninen had the idea of building a new church in 1935. The first governor in Lapland's province, Uuno Hannula, agreed.
The architect G.A. Wahlroos made the plans of the church. The state had granted money to build the church and the building was started in 1939. Before the church was finished men had to go to defend the country. The winter war began. Women and old men had to finish the church. The building of the church was touching and unique. The first ceremonies had to be done in an unfinished church. Those ceremonies were burying the war heroes when the first men came back from the frontier in white coffins.
The church was completed and consecrated to use on 14th July in 1940. There is room for 550 people in the church. In 1962 the organ was bought from Kangasala.
The bells of the church have been inherited from the Hedenäset and the Matarengi churches in Sweden. The bell tower, where they are, goes back to the times of the old church. It was completed in 1819.
The artists of our church
One of the oldest paintings is "The head of the suffering Christ" in the vestry, also inherited from the old church in Sweden.
The artist who made the altar paintings is Jean Hedman. His paintings "The Resurrection of the Christ" has proclaimed the message of the Easter ever since the year 1818 from the times of the old church.
In the wall paintings of the church the artist G.A. Jysky describes the apostles and Christ as the lamb of victory. Above the door of the vestry he reminds the priests entering the church: "Pretio empti estis", "You have been dearly bought". Above the door leading to the church yard the words of the book of Job comfort you: "He maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, but his hands also make whole". Above the text there is a more recent work of enamel using angels as a motif. It is designed by Anita Wangel.
The pulpit is decorated by reliefs of the apostles and Martin Luther, designed by the sculptor Aarre Aaltonen.
One of the latest artists of our church is Mirjami Kinos, who has made glass paintings
"Jesus washing the feet of the disciples",
"Jesus blessing the children",
"Christmas night" and
These works of art make our church "The Church of Gospel and the Resurrection".
Address of the church: Alkkulanraitti 8, 95600 Ylitornio, Finland