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Religious life

Abbé Outhier describes in detail the religious customs and the events of the Lutheran church. He attended several local services. The Frenchmen refrained, however, from holding their Catholic services in public as it was forbidden by the law.

There were two churches in Tornio. On the Pirkkiö island there was the stone church used by the Finnish speaking population.

Tornio church

The wooden town church where the services were held in Swedish lay on the island Suensaari. The vicar had three curates or assistant vicars.

The vicars of Tornio and Ylitornio helped the Frenchmen in many ways. Erik Brunnius, vicar of Ylitornio parish, regularly accommodated the expedition members in his vicarage. The Ylitornio parish was very wide. The vicar lived by the main church in Särkilahti. There was another church in Hietaniemi. On the premises of the ironworks in Köngäs there was a chapel with its own chaplain. Sermon services were also arranged in many houses along the river in places from where it was very long to the nearest church. The Frenchmen were struck by the tears welling up in the congregation's eyes during the service in Ylitornio.

In Tornio the Frenchmen attended several funerals. The body was kept at home for farewells. Funerals gathered a lot of guests from all around the area. The coffin of a young girl was carried by ten men and several priests walked by. Only men took part in the processions. The women used to wait in the church. The funeral procession advanced in a dignified way and at good pace.


Réginald Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North in the Years 1736 - 1737:

Tornio church (p. 303)

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