The priests that holds Heavy Metal masses in Finland

Heavy Metal is one of Finland’s exports: it is said that they have more Heavy Metal bands per capita that any other nation in the world. It is no coincidence, then, that they also took the next step and created a Heavy Metal mass.

Finnish Metal

I am more inclined towards other kinds of music, and therefore my knowledge of Finnish Metal is limited. Nonetheless, I was in Finland when its Heavy Metal band formed by monsters won the Eurovision festival. It was Lordi.

Heavy metal in Helsinki
A band performing in Helsinki. Source (CC: by).

Since then, on the Spanish version of Big in Finland, we have a section about Finnish Music, in which we review Finnish albums thanks to our guest blogger J.A. Vidania. Today we start with our section on Finnish Music here with this blog-post.

The masses with Christian Heavy Metal in Helsinki

I first learned about this topic through this article on thisisFINLAND: a Finnish priest has been touring Finland and organizing Heavy Metal masses in different Finnish cities.

Since 2006 Haka Kekäläinen, a Lutheran priest, comes into the church with a six-member Heavy Metal band. The priest also looks pretty metal, sporting long dark hair and a goatee. In church, though, he leaves his leather jacket in the wardrobe and dons the traditional clothing for a priest.

In religious hymns that the Heavy Metal band plays the lyrics are not changed, but the rythm and music are and many people – also non-religious – drop by the church to witness this curious mass of Christian Heavy Metal. A curiosity: none of the members of the band are religious, but they put in the extra effort to make their performance a religious experience.

Heavy Metal masses in Finland
The priest and his altar boys and girls. You can see the Heavy Metal band in the background. Source (by-sa-nc).

The first mass of this kind was held in Helsinki, in the spectacular Temppeliaukio church (a church dug into a rock), which was completely full – some people even had to stand outside. Since that day where he guided the mass in front of 1.300 people, the priest and his Christian Heavy Metal band have held more than 95 masses throughout Finland and recorded an album. The album sold out its 8.000 copies.

What are the plans for the future for this peculiar priest? A weekly mass in Helsinki and the recording of a new album. There were almost no opposition voices in the Lutheran Church – I assume that was because Finland is a Metal lover – so his plans seem feasible. Will he perform in the iconic Chapel of Silence of Helsinki? Only time will tell, but it seems unlikely.

What do you think of this way to fill churches in Finland? Are you a Heavy Metal fan? If so, tell us your favorite band in the comments.

I’ve been writing about Finland for 8 years. In these articles I am trying to transmit my passion for Finland, its marvelous nature and cities, its people and the culture of the country. Thanks for reading!