The dream of the Matias Chapel
… was born in the early 1980s in the Helimäki family when the son Matti suggested to his father that the birch wood of the village of Härkönen in Virrat would be a good place to build a chapel. A quarter of a century later a group of friends gathered in that birch wood, and Reverend Matti’s dream of a chapel started to come true.
The granite boulders removed while building a family house for some friends found their place in the walls of the chapel. An international community connecting people from Virrat and abroad was born: the steel structures of the chapel were sent from Sweden, the marketing materials from Germany, the building project was funded by local companies, and EU funding was applied for with the support of the PoKo association. In addition, countless volunteers from near and far assisted in the different stages of the building project.
Matti’s brother acoustician Heikki Helimäki made the chapel into a unique acoustic space, where the uneven rock surfaces and smooth wooden surfaces create a special soundscape with the large glass window in one end and the custom-built doors in the other.
Matias Chapel added an important travel destination to Virrat in 2009, as it is known all around Finland to be one of the most attractive chapels of silence in the country.