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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New Bishop of Turku: Kaarlo Kalliala

On the feast of the Epiphany, in the ancient Cathedral founded in the 13th century, surrounded by representatives of the diocese, bishops of his own Church and representatives from sister Churches, Kaarlo Kalliala (above) was consecrated bishop of Turku by the Archbishop of Turku and Finland, Kari Mäkinen.

Turku is unusual in the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in that it has two bishops. The Archbishop of Turku and Finland has many national and international church duties and is the Primate of the Finnish Church. His own jurisdiction in Turku is essentially the centre of the city. The Bishop of Turku is responsible for the rest of the diocese.

Bishop Kaarlo was previously the dean of the diocese. He is also familiar with the challenges of overseas work and chaplaincy having previously served as a Finnish Seamen’s priest in Rotterdam. Bishop Kaarlo is married to Eija, who is a priest. They have two grown sons and two grandchildren. He is an avid blogger and has a facebook presence!

It is the tradition in the Finnish Church for the bishop-elect to preach at his or her own consecration service. In his sermon, Kalliala recalled the story of the Magi, and spoke of our own Christian journey. “When you set out across the desert, supposing that the meaning of life and of all being must be hidden somewhere out there, you do not face royal grandeur, but only something human, small and bare. You will see a little child as it is....This is God’s policy, the great scandal of Christianity: God, who holds the universe, becomes like us, steps down to human history and becomes one of us.”

I was privileged to represent the Archbishop of Canterbury and to be invited to be one of the co-consecrators. It was a time to meet several old ecumenical friends, including the Lutheran Bishop of El Salvador, Medardo Gomez. He is a heroic man with whom I had much to do in the 1980s during the civil war in his country.

There is an English-language congregation which meets in the Cathedral each Sunday, under the joint auspices of the Lutheran Church and the Anglican Church in Finland, a ministry made possible by the Porvoo Agreement. Information can be found here.

It was brisk weather in Turku. In the photo below Frs Mika Pajunen and Rupert Moreton (Assistant Priest and Chaplain, respectively in the Anglican Church in Finland) head to a tent after the service for some mulled wine.


  1. nice photos of the Finnish Anglican clergy :) sorry you didn't have time to come to the LEP epiphany service ...

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