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Given all the “typical” things in churches, sometimes it’s refreshing to find some unique finds.  I’m showcasing some of these more unique (or unique stories that go with the typical items).

Let’s start with a typical feature of churches – the baptismal font.

Turku cathedralLooks pretty normal right.  Well…Here’s the story behind this particular font.  It’s large enough to dip an infant in.  That’s great in most places, but not in Finland…in winter…or most of the year for that matter.  During our tour of the cathedral we learned that when baptisms were done in colder months, it usually meant that many infants would die.  When the water is cold and you dip an entire body in it (especially one with a developing immune system and little to no medication of any type), you are bound to get sick and die from that sickness.  So they were baptizing children to their own death.  Not a good idea.  The church in Finland got a reprieve from immersion baptisms because of this.

This reminds me of another story.  It was cold in the cathedral in the winter.  How cold was it?  The only place fire was permitted was in the sacristy.  Why there?  Good reason actually. They kept the metal chalice for the wine there.  What was happening was that the priest would consecrate the elements, take a drink of the cup and his lips would freeze to the cup.  The solution was to keep the cup in a warmer place, bring it out at the last-minute, use it quickly and put it back so it wouldn’t get too cold.

Onto the ships.

Turku cathedralEvery Finnish church has a ship hanging in it.  I’ve written about this before.  Shipping and sailing is a major part of Finnish history.  One story tells us that the ships are there as reminders for the congregates to pray for the sailors, many of whom would have been family members.

Last part – Iron Fists/Hands

Turku cathedralI can’t remember the dude’s name, but I remember this about him – He was known for the iron gloves he wore into battle. And these iron fists became a symbol for him.  So much so, that the stained glass representing him show the fists.

Turku cathedralPretty interesting.