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Diocese of Espoo
New Diocese, Medieval Roots
The Diocese of Espoo is one of the nine dioceses of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. Until 2003, the area was a part of the Diocese of Helsinki, and the new diocese was established in January 2004. The head of the diocese was Bishop Mikko Heikka until January 2012. From February 2012 new Bishop is Tapio Luoma. The Cathedral of Espoo is a medieval church. Its oldest parts date back to the 1480’s.
The diocese consists of 19 parishes in southern Finland, located west and north of Helsinki. The geographical distances within the diocese are quite short: the distance between its farthest parish and the Cathedral and the Bishop's Office is no more than 100 kilometres.
The population of the area of the Diocese of Espoo is approximately 600,000 of which 240,000 live in the city of Espoo. Most people in this area live in urban environments; however, there are also small villages and communities and rural landscapes. In Finland, more than 80 % of the population belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, but in the Diocese of Espoo the percentage is somewhat smaller. Ecumenical cooperation, both on the local and on the regional level, is quite lively.
The coastal areas are bilingual and there are also parishes for the Swedish-speaking people. These parishes belong to the Diocese of Borgå (Porvoo). Many co-workers of the parishes in the diocese speak fluent English, and some parishes, particularly in the city of Espoo, also arrange activities in English. For information on other churches and Christian communities in this area, please contact the Finnish Ecumenical Council.
Vision and responsibilities
The vision for the work of the diocese is to strengthen prayer, justice, transparence and fellowship. In addition to the Chapter with nine members, there is now a Diocese Council consisting of fourteen lay people and seven pastors, elected every four years. Ten people work full-time at the Bishop’s Office in order to support local work in the parishes and assist the bishop in his work in the diocese and his contacts with the media and public authorities. For instance, a number of courses and gatherings for pastors, other co-workers and parish members are arranged every year. The bishop and the Chapter also have a controlling function over the work and life of the clergy and other employees of the parishes.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is a member of the Lutheran World Federation. Espoo Diocese has two partneship Dioceses: Western Diocese of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) and Edinburgh Diocese of The Scottish Episcopal Church.
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