In My Heart
The Lapp church festival 2009 was at Inari
Lapp Church FestivalEvery fourth year there is as a Lapp church festival were the Lutheran churches of Lappland convene for 3 days. The festival is arranged in different parts of Lapland. The former festival was in Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland. This year the festval was at Inari (Enare) in Finnish Lapland. And the next one will be held in the southern Sapmi area, maybe as far south as Røros.
The concept of the Lapp church festival - or Sami church festival - is interesting and important to the Lapp congregations throughout the vast area of Lapland.
The OrthodoxThe Skolt Lapps and the Russian Lapps are Orthodox. During the festival there was a service at the tsasouna (small chapel) of Keväjärvi 13 kilometres east of Ivalo towards the Russian border.
After the service everyone was invited to tea with delicious bread slices with powan or common whitefish. Many also partook in tradional square dances.
There are four Orthodox churches and chapels in the municipality of Lapland. They are at Sevettijärvi, Ivalo, Keväjärvi and Nellim.
Wilderness churchAnother highlight of the festival was the service at the Pielpajärvi wilderness church. We had to go by boat for half an hour. Then we had to walk for an hour to get to the church which was full.
The messages of the services were about the light since we are in the days of the nightless nights. The midnight sun gives us light even in the night.
At the opening service one of the orthodox priests talked about the meaning of wilderness itself. Here in Lapland we are blessed with plenty of it. Many of us go into the wilderness to find new strength and recharge our batteries. Then we return to civilization with a new vitality.
The services, the concerts and the seminars were held in a big tent seating more than 400 people.
Many tourists use the opportunity to get nice pictures of Lapps, or Sami people, in their colourful national costumes. Here you find costumes from all parts of Lapland (or Sapmi) - including Russia. Some even use the opportunity to get a glimpse of modernday Sami religion.
The Lapp church festival is one facet of Sami religion. Read about other facets.