Helsinki Cathedral: the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland


Helsinki Cathedral is a graceful church located in the city of Helsinki, Finland.

The Neo-Classical style exterior, which originated in France, makes it stand out even in the beautiful city of Helsinki.

In this article, I introduce Helsinki Cathedral, a church many people visit for sightseeing and worship.

What is Helsinki Cathedral?

Helsinki Cathedral is a church located in the center of Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.

Helsinki Cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Finland, visited daily by many people for sightseeing and religious ceremonies.

The Helsinki Cathedral was built in the 19th century in the neoclassical style.

Neoclassical style is also called neoclassical architecture.

It was born in France as a reaction against the conventional decorative beauty of the old, prestigious style, which only pursued luxury.

Rather than simply dressing up the surfaces, the building is characterized by a solemn and simple decorative style that makes extensive use of straight lines and symmetry, in keeping with the classical architecture of the past.

Looking at the shape of Helsinki Cathedral, the exterior walls are a blinding white.

Looking up, the bronze of the five-domed roofs soars above.

Six Corinthian stone columns stand side by side on the walls.

Above them is a triangular roof construction.

All four sides of the cathedral are similarly decorated and designed to look the same from all directions.

History of Helsinki Cathedral

Helsinki Cathedral was built by two German architects during the period 1816-1852 when Finland was under the rule of the Russian Empire.

From 1816 to 1824, when the cathedral’s construction began, it was designed in the neoclassical style by the German architect Carl Ludvig Engel.

After he died in 1824, construction was turned over to his successor, Ernst Bernhard Lohrmann.

The building was finally completed in 1852, 38 years after construction began.

When the church was completed in 1852, it was named St. Nicholas Church in honor of the Russian Emperor Nicholas I, who ruled Finland at the time.

It was renamed to another name in 1917 when Finland gained independence from Russia.

And in 1959, with the establishment of the Bishopric of Helsinki, it was given its present name, Helsinki Cathedral.

Headquarters of Evangelical Lutheranism

Helsinki Cathedral is the second oldest church in Finland.

Helsinki Cathedral is usually used for worship services and weddings.

Helsinki Cathedral is also the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, to which about 70% of Finns belong.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church are the two state religions in Finland.

The Helsinki Cathedral is also an important place of worship for Christians.

Inside is a solemn chapel

The interior of Helsinki Cathedral is a chapel.

Like the exterior, the interior is white and simple in form.

Elegant decorations are modest. The space is calm and serene.

It also features a pipe organ built in 1963 with 5614 pipes.

The chapel is said to be filled with a pleasant atmosphere with the deep and peaceful sounds of the organ.

The main altar is decorated with a portrait of the Virgin Mary holding Christ, which was donated by Nicholas I of the former Russian Empire.

Adoration is held in the chapel of Helsinki Cathedral on weekdays from 12:00-1:00 p.m. and on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m.

Mass is also held every Sunday morning.

Please note that tourists are not allowed to enter the church while religious services are being held inside.

Sightseeing spots nearby

There are many places to see around the cathedral.

For example, there is a square in front of Helsinki Cathedral called Senate Square.

Senate Square is paved with about 400,000 granite stones.

The area was part of the urban development plan for the transfer of the capital to Helsinki in 1812, and was the site of an arms parade.

Due to its history of being once under Russian rule, a bronze statue of Alexander II of Russia is located in the center of Senate Square.

Today, Senate Square is the largest civic square in Finland.

Other views from the top of the steps of Helsinki Cathedral overlook the stone streets of Helsinki, so beautiful that it is often referred to as the Maiden of the Baltic Sea.


Helsinki Cathedral is one of the country’s most famous landmarks. The exterior of the cathedral is even featured on Finland-related merchandise.

In front of the cathedral you can see the Senate Square, which is full of citizens, and the beautiful cityscape of Helsinki.

The Cathedral is a must for your camera.