Where Helsinki and Uspenski Cathedrals with their multitude of tall spears seem to be longingly reaching for the heavens, the Rock Church looks like a celestial body having landed on earth, planting itself deep in the granite surface on top of a hill.
The gently curved cobber dome, glass panels and a rough rock wall promise an interesting tale, but reveal nothing of the amazing space and grace you encounter having passed through the rather inconspicuous, dark Rocky Gate.
The majestic, breathtaking simplicity stops me dead in my tracks. I just stand there, adjusting both eyes and mind to the sight. It’s like being in a cave, but one where darkness has been transformed to light and stale air to sea breeze. Heavenly trumpet music ease itself along the roughly hewn rocks, soars up to the cobber wire sphere, before swooping down and into my ears.
I slowly walk over to the pews and sit down near the wall where candles are lit for loved ones, dreams, hopes… The flames flicker gently and give off a warm glow to the adjacent rock surface. Despite the spaciousness of the place, it feels intimate, protected, safe, peaceful. All thoughts of must-dos, should-haves and couldhavebeens disappear. My tense system relaxes, my shoulders assume their by nature intended position, and my breath slows down, every intake easy and effortless.
There are not many people present. A few are strolling about, viewing the interiors. The architects have been true to the materials that make up the church, revealing and displaying their true nature. Both the copper basin of the baptismal font and the alter table have been allowed to turn into a beautiful greyish green hue that together with their rugged rock bases create an image of an organic whole.
Whether the people sitting in the isles are contemplating, praying or adding up their week’s spendings, is hard to tell. But no one notices or lifts and eyebrow as I ease myself down into a lying position, one hand under my head for support. Above me the 180 (I counted) window panes connection the glowing cobber sphere and the stone walls, let daylight pass down into the church, and allow my gaze and thoughts to slip through. Clouds are ever so slowly passing by, and occasional rain showers play pleasant, comforting music on the glass surfaces…
I come to with a feeling that something is different and open my eyes. Around me are busloads of Japanese. Some of them obviously having failed to read or understand the “Please be silent” sign at the entrance. I watch then drowsily, bemused, but not annoyed. They are like a bunch of school children finally let out of the class room to roam after a long day. Chatting and laughing they take pictures in a way and at a rate that does credit to their reputation as the incarnated tourists. Pods, pads, phones and other photographing devices are almost breaking out in a sweat from all the work they’re put to. The visitors’ main motifs are themselves and their fellow countrymen- and women. Only when their sim- and memory-cards are exhausted in all senses of the word, do they sigh contently and exit the premises in the same manner they entered.
Peace again settles, and I lean back to continue my musings, both in my mind and on paper. After a while I glance at my watch and realize I’ve spent one and a half hours in this down to earth heavenly recluse. Closing time is approaching, so without haste, still in a calm, comfortable, worry free state, I leave all my cares and woes and head for the exit. Emerging into the sunshine, I know that in the town of Helsinki that I have come to like a lot, the Rock Church is a place not only to remember, but also to revisit.