Simpele Church was built for the Simpele parish that was established in 1922. Today it is the main church of the Rautajärvi municipality. The church was inaugurated in October 1933.

The church was designed by groundbreaking female architects Elsi Borg and Elsa Arokallio, assumable the first female church architects in the world, at the time when women practising architecture was an uncommon phenomenon. Before Simpele Church, Elsi Borg had designed the Taulumäki Church in Central Finland, based on her winning entry in an architecture competition. Both Borg and Arokallio were vicars’ daughters and had a great interest in church architecture throughout their life.

The church is situated in the Kaunolanharju ridge. The building represents the turn from the Nordic Classicism to Functionalism. The elevations are very simple, ornamentations are minimal. The references to Nordic Classicism are visible in the bell tower. The altarpiece was painted by Alwar Cavén and the glass paintings are by Mikko Vuorinen. Sculptor Eila Hiltunen realised the soldier’s grave monument to the church yard in 1953.


Kirkkotie 1, Rautjärvi
61.2860313, 29.1137551


View from the east, Simpele Church
View from the east, Simpele Church (© Wikimedia Commons)
Main entrance, Simpele Church
Main entrance, Simpele Church (© Wikimedia Commons)
Soldier's grave monument by sculptor Eila Hiltunen, Simpele Church
Soldier's grave monument by sculptor Eila Hiltunen, Simpele Church (© Wikimedia Commons)