The Holy Cross Church of Hattula
The Holy Cross Church (Pyhän Ristin kirkko)
serves as a Church of the local Hattula Evangelical-Lutheran congregation. As a museum, it is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm from 15th of May through 31th of August (tel. +358 -3 – 672 3383). Admission is free but a guided tour is 6€ per person (free to those under 18 yrs). Admission fee for a group is a maximum of 60.
You may access the church at any other time by contacting the office of the Hattula Congregation, tel. +358-3 – 6311540. The opening fee of doors during other times is 60 € (free to researchers). The Church is closed during the Midsummer Feast as well as the day before that, except for weddings and baptisms.
The Congregation of Hattula arranges Sunday Services and concerts in the Holy Cross Church during the summertime. You can find the schedule of the Services on the page "Tapahtumat" titled “jumalanpalvelukset ja uskonelämä".
History and Character
The Church of the Holy Cross was built at the end of the 14th century or in the beginning of the 15th century, making it about 600 years old. The one of the Church´s distinctive features is its red brick, as most medieval buildings in Finland were made from grey stone. Only three medieval buildings in Finland were made of brick: the Turku Cathedral, the Castle of Hämeenlinna and this church.
This church was dedicated to the Holy Cross. The legend of the Holy Cross is pictured on the ceiling of the Church: St. Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where she was told to have found the Cross of Christ. She indicated the place she believed to be the site of the crucifixion -and so the crosses were found. One of them cured a woman who was mortally ill and it was thus proven to be the Cross of Christ. It is said that one piece of this Cross of Christ has been kept in the Church of Holy Cross. It has since become the center for a community of believers here in Finland.
The church contains about 200 paintings. They were painted at the beginning of the 16th century (1510). The identity of the painter(s) is unknown but he (or she) it was most likely a Finn. The technique was called al secco. The pictures were painted on a dry surface with colors dissolved in lime-water.
After the Reformation, the attitude towards paintings in churches become less favorable. However, the paintings in the ceiling of this Church were never whitewashed as was done in other medieval Churches, which is the reason the paintings are so bright. All the colors are original.
The Church contains a lot of wooden sculptures. The oldest of them is the Triumph crucifix. It is made by the master of Lieto, who was the first known Finnish sculptor. There are two pulpits in the Church. The smaller one is one of the oldest in Finland. It was donated to the Church in 1550. The other pulpit is from the 18th century. Both of them are hand made by Finnisch artisans.