Building

Juhani Viiste

Juhani Viiste (1) Saint John (1) Valamonkatu (14) Orthodox (1) Winter (24) Sortavala (112) Kirkkoniemi (8) 1943 (26) 1940 (69) 1877 (5) Valamo monastery (1) monastery (1) 2014 (27) Ruskeala (1)

The church built by the Sortavala Orthodox parish at Kirkkoniemi in the 1780s was demolished in 1877. It was replaced by a brick prayer house of the Valamo monastery that in 1932 was transformed, according to the designs of architect Juhani Viiste, into the Church of Saint John the Theologian to operate in connection with central building of the Greek Catholic Church. The church served as a practice church for the seminar and as the home church of the arch bishop. Saint John's Church remained unharmed in the Winter War air raids, and only the altar equipment was evacuated from the church in March 1940. In 1943, during the Continuation War, the Finns had time to repair the church that had functioned as the workshop of a Soviet horse collar maker.
After the war, Saint John's Church was used for the purposes of cinema administration and a film rental establishment. The restoration of the building was begun at the start of the 1990s, and a font lined with Ruskeala marble was made for the church. Regular services began to be held at the Saint John's Church in the latter part of the 1990s, and it was used as a substitute for the Church of Saint Nikolas in the beginning of the 2000s when the Church of Saint Nikolas was closed for renovation. After this, restorations began again at Saint John's Church, as the repairs made in the 1990s were not properly executed. At this point, the font was dismantled, and its parts are currently being kept in the collections of the Museum of Ladoga Karelia. The restoration work has continued in 2014, and so far services held at the church have been rare exceptions. The church facilities also house the office of the Sortavala parish.

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