Photo: Mari Lehto
Ecumenical Christmas in Turku
The ecumenical appeal for peace and the humanitarian message complement the Finnish tradition of declaring Christmas Peace. The tradition of holding the ecumenical Christmas in Turku, Finland event in the Turku Cathedral started in 1994. Since 1998, the ceremony has also included a humanitarian message.
The Ecumenical Christmas tradition started in 1994, which is when the first Ecumenical Christmas in Turku, Finland ceremony was organized.
The tradition is that a joint appeal for world peace will be presented by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Orthodox Church in Finland, the Catholic Church in Finland, and one of the churches representing the liberal traditions.
In 1998, the Ecumenical Christmas tradition was complemented by a humanitarian message. A widely known and highly respected person or organisation will be invited to deliver the message. The invitee is someone who has made a significant contribution to building and maintaining world peace, or repairing the aftermath of war.
The first humanitarian message was delivered by Councilor of State Harri Holkeri. Also President of the Republic of Estonia Lennart Meri (2000), United Nations’ Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks (2004), author and journalist Yrsa Stenius (2006), Minister Elisabeth Rehn (2009), Archiatre Risto Pelkonen (2012), and President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö (2013) have delivered the humanitarian message.
An essential part of the Ecumenical Christmas tradition is high-grade music and singalongs. Performing as soloists have been names such as opera singers Seppo Ruohonen, Jorma Hynninen, Lilli Paasikivi, and Tarja Turunen.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE, will televise the Ecumenical Christmas in Turku, Finland ceremony, which will take place at the Turku Cathedral. The programme will be aired on YLE TV 1 on Christmas Eve before the Declaration of Christmas Peace.