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Lived Religion in Medieval Finland

Tampere University
Duration of project15.3.2021–15.3.2024
Area of focusSociety

The lived religion in medieval Finland -project starts with the premise of ​​religion as a dynamic social process that both requires and creates active participation, emotions and experiences. Religion is seen as a way to interact and participate (with)in a community – as a performative space. It is an integral building block of (collective) identity. Saints’ cults and interaction with a saint were a hallmark of medieval European culture, they were both local and translocal. 

The project focuses on Finland's most important medieval cults and interactions with the Virgin Mary, Saints Anna, Henrik and Birgitta. The aim is to shed light on the general European and local cultural features of the medieval lived religion. The project provides a new overview of a theme that has so far received less attention from scholars since preserved source material from Finland is fragmentary. The sources used by the project include liturgical manuscripts, sermons and wills, as well as various artifacts associated with the saints.

The new methodology applied by the project enables a contribution to international academic discussions on lived religion and religious practices. The project will also produce material for a Nordic database, which will enable a more profound comparative analysis in the future.

The project is led by Senior Research Fellow Sari Katajala-Peltomaa and it has has three other researchers: Docent Marika Räsänen, PhD Sofia Lahti and MA Anna-Stina Hägglund.


Funding source

Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland



HEX - Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences

Trivium - Tampere Centre for Classical, Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Mapping Lived Religion: Medieval cults of saints in Sweden and Finland -projekti