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Pedersöre Church

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Medieval Church

The Pedersöre church is one of Österbotten's oldest medieval churches. The foundation was laid in 1250. It is a long rectangular building reaching from east to west, with a tower in the west and a sacristy to the east near the north road - all are part of the original building. In the choir gable the church has a window over the altar and three Gothic arched windows on the long south wall. There are two entrances on this wall, one to the east with passage to the choir, and a larger door to the west of the center of the wall. In front of the entrance door is the church porch. During the Great Strife in the beginning of the 1700s, the church suffered great harm and sustained heavy losses. At that time the church building was crowded and the old seats were uncomfortable.

Cross Church

After a long period of preparation, the church was rebuilt in 1787. This difficult task was entrusted to the 30-year-old Jacob Rijf who, "in a brilliant manner" completed the assignment to which he had been appointed. Luckily the design that Gustaf III had approved was not used. Thus saving the beautiful 65 meter high steeple for the future.

The latest renovation of the church was performed in 1950. The fine, fragile colors brought out more than before the beauty in Jacob Rijf's magnificent church. Note: The church was heavily damaged by an arsonist's fire in 1985, and was repaired.

Church Property

During war and scourge the church has lost a great deal of irreplaceable property. But at the same time, some of it has been preserved, including:

  1. Madonna from 1400s has probably been the central figure in a Middle Ages triptych.
  2. Baptismal font had at some time been removed but was found in 1950 and returned to the church, restored and provided with a new baptism basin of copper.
  3. Church bells. The big bell, Finland's largest medieval bell, with a diameter of 1.32 m. weighs 8 skeppund or 1360 kg. An old German text around the neck of the bell states that the bell is from Herrens 1488. The bell had no other text, but a picture of the Virgin Mary and the Savior, also an owner's mark. The church also has a small bell acquired in 1771.
  4. Church altarpiece. The present altarpiece, which was acquired in 1896, is painted by Pekka Halonen. This picture is the third within Schröder's beautiful frame. It is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's "Holy Communion." Note: Halonen's altarpiece was destroyed by fire in 1985. In expectation of a new altarpiece, there is a photo copy of Maria Capsia's original.
  5. Church organ. A 36-pipe organ was acquired in 1966. It is the fourth organ and was furnished by the Danish organ firm Marcussen and Son of Åbenrå. Note: The organ was destroyed by fire in 1985. The present organ was dedicated in the summer of 1988 and is a 39-pipe completely mechanical organ by the same organ factory.

Bell tower

A bell tower of wood was built in 1689. It stood in the northeast corner of the church yard. In the 1760s it was found to be dilapidated. A new one had to be built. The initials TR and an owner's mark were hand done. Above the door in the south is an indication that Tomas Rijf had been the building contractor of the massive detached bell tower.

Winter graves

Located adjacent to the bell tower, are the winter graves, one grave for each village. In olden times coffins were placed here while the ground was frozen. The practice ended in 1803.

Bone room

Located in the northeast corner of the church yard, it was built in 1775 by Tomas Rijf. Bones were kept here above ground until they became dust.

The church was set afire in 1985 by an arsonist and was later restored. On 2 Dec 1986, the Jakobstads Tidning reported that nearly 3,000 visitors were counted at the three events on the occasion of the reconsecration of the Church. The church members were impressed by the work that had been done since the fire. Most of them remembered wandering under the soot-blackened arches after the fire. Now the church rooms gleam in white, mother of pearl and gold. It lacks no detail or adornment, and joy and satisfaction were reflected on the faces of the members.

Translated from "Pedersöre Kyrka" and Jakobstads Tidning by June Pelo, 1990.


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