Church of St. Olaf in Sysmä

The Church of St. Olaf is located west of the Sysmä centre.

The Church of St. Olaf in Sysmä was built during the first two decades of the 16th century. The name of the church derives from the Catholic era, the patron saint being Olaf, the martyr king of Norway (995-1022). The oldest mention of Sysmä Church in documents is from 1398, and a stone-built church is mentioned for the first time in 1442. At the time, Sysmä was the centre of religious life in East Häme. According to oral tradition, the church of Sysmä first began to be built on Kuokanmäki hill in the village of Linna, but since the built work of the day would fall down during the following night, the site was regarded as unsuitable. Therefore the sacred stone or altar slab was loaded on a sledge drawn by an ox, and it was decided that "church is to be built where the ox stops". The ox stopped at the site of the present church.

The original parts of the grey-stone and brick church are its east and west gables. The north and south walls were dismantled in 1833-1834, when the church was converted into cruciform plan according to designs by C.L. Engel. The outer walls were rendered and white-washed. The sun design in the ceiling was painted in 1834 by C.F. Blom. Consecration crosses painted on the walls and statuary inside the church survive from the Catholic era.

The Church of St. Olaf is one of the Roadside churches in Finland.

Address: Kirkkokuja 1, 19700 Sysmä 
Open: 10.6.-18.8.2019 Mon - Sun 11 am - 5 pm.
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