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The Construction

The master carpenter was Jaakko Klementinpoika Leppänen from Laukaa. His plan for the building was sent to approved in Stockholm as early as 1761.

The plan is a cross with equal arms; the main nave as well as the crossing nave are approximately 17 meters long and 7 meters broad. The naves are roofed by high, slightly angular vaults of reddish pine planks; an octagonal dome rises above the crossing, where the naves meet each other. The joints of the planks are covered by wooden ribs painted with red ochre.

The basis for the special arrangements can be found in cruciform churches, which follow the tradition of the Renaissance central church; the earliest examples of this type occurred in Finland in the 1660`s. Turned miniature columns above the choir screen and the front of the galleries must be mentioned as Renaissance features as well.

The windows, which originally formed half of a sextagon in their upper parts, were enlarged in 1821. The old choir window, now covered by the altarpiece remained unchanged. The vestry, which was situated in the north arm, was removed to the south arm of the cruciform after it was lengthened. According to tradition the pulpit dates from the time before the church was built; in its style it resembles the pulpit in the mother church of Jämsä. The altarpiece and, in all likelihood, the paintings on the altar wall representing Martin Luther and Moses were painted by C.F. Blom in 1843.

Petäjäveden vanha kirkko Petäjäveden vanha kirkko
Click to view larger images. Copyright Heikki Hanka and Ari Häyrinen, University of Jyväskylä.

An old wedding baldachin was used as an antependium; in 1953 it was sent to the National Museum and was replaced by a copy.

The characteristic feature of the exterior is the stacked roof whose steepness revives the Gothic tradition. The shingles are triangular at their ends and on heaves they have a special pattern. Shingles and the weathercock staff were renewed in 1953.

The main door is situated at the south arm of the cruciform; its upper part repeats the earlier form of the windows. The door has its original paneling; to preserve it the paneling has been reversed.

The bell tower was built by Erkki Leppänen,the son of Jaakko Leppänen, in 1821.The churchyard was formerly surrounded by a log fence,which has, however, fallen into decay and disappeared.