Photograph

Aarnisalo (5) Otto Aarnisalo (1) Leander (18) Sortavala (112) Bible House (1) Cross and Bible (1) Väinö Leander (1) 1925 (22) 1926 (44) Church of Finland (1) Raamattutalo (2) 1914 (12)

Raamattutalo ("Bible House", also known as "Cross and Bible") was built as the printing house and bindery of the Church of Finland's Domestic Mission Society. When the building was completed in 1914, the Domestic Mission Society and its founder Dean Otto Aarnisalo were given the task described as their most important commission ever, the printing of Finnish-language bibles in Finland. The Raamattutalo building was designed by Oski Leander's younger brother Väinö Leander (Laurola), who also designed two other residential buildings for Sortavala in his short career as an architect. Six years later, Raamattutalo was expanded, "in order for it to be able to serve the purpose of mental bridge building between 'Väinö's children' (a reference to Finland's kindred people) and even the creation of a new spiritual foundation in our Eastern neighbour": the plan was to print and export Russian-language bibles to Russia and even to print bibles for kindred people in their own languages. At the time, it was not believed that the contacts to the east would have been permanently severed.
In 1925, the operations of the printing house and the bindery were transferred to limited company Bible House, share majority for which still remained with the Domestic Mission Association. Raamattutalo was also active in printing other spiritual literature, and by 1926 it had already produced some two million books, including more than a million different hymn books, catechisms and church manuals and approximately half a million bibles in Finnish and Swedish. Four printing houses were active in Sortavala, of which the Raamattutalo printing house owned by Church of Finland's Domestic Mission Society was the largest.

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