We leave Porvoo in the middle of the afternoon, heading towards Helsinki. The next day, the capital dawns gray and snowy. We explore it for hours on end under inclement weather until, closer to nightfall, the clouds break up and a rewarding calm sets in.
We install ourselves on a structural overhang on the Baltic Sea, next to the international ferry dock. From there, we watch the long boreal sunset and artificial lighting highlighting the Cathedral of Helsinki over the submissive historic houses.
As soon as the sky darkens, we walk into the city in search of the starting station of its 17th representation of the Way of the cross, about to be carried out by the Cathedral Congregation of Helsinki and by Ristin Tien Tuki ry, an ecumenical association in charge of ensuring the event.
The Believing Crowd Fighting for the Best Places in the City
We find it on a hillside on the edge of Kaisaniemen Park devoid of foliage, covered with a good height of snow and invaded by a warm and enthusiastic public. The crowd vie for the best places to follow Christ's trials among an extensive cast of citizens of a Jerusalem Finno-Roman hostile to their beliefs and preaching, and more frigid than ever.
Jesus is held by a little centurion squad and ushered in the presence of Pontius Pilate, followed by a procession of historical extras advancing along Unionkatu and Yrjö-Koskisen Katu avenues by candlelight.
The representation continues, elegant and grandiose, at the top of the stairs of the Säätytalo (The House of States) adapted to the palace of the Roman governor, where the Jewish people ended up opting for the release of the insurgent prisoner Barabbas, thus condemning Christ to the Crucifixion.
The Pompous Reenactment in front of the Cathedral of Helsinki
The procession of actors, extras, and the audience then moves to the vicinity of the Cathedral where many more spectators await the action.
There, Christ conquers a new staircase, this time with his heavy cross on his shoulder, in a painful climb that a round focus accompanies and highlights, facilitated by our contemporary assistant that the directors added without any complex.
Among the speeches and dramatic cries of biblical characters, excerpts of lyrical songs combined with violins and other instruments, Christ and the robbers find the Calvary in front of the towering façade of the temple.
After death, the Redeemer descends from the cross by his own foot, the staircase enters the shadows and is climbed by dozens of actors and extras who hold candles and torches in the ultimate multi-sensory moment of a religious spectacle.
They retreat to their homes or to Helsinki's countless profane and nocturnal refuges.
In terms of the calendar, however, Holy Week gave way to Easter. It was time to find out the pagan side of the time. in Seurasaari.