Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance: Uspenski Cathedral, Helsinki


Shrouded in mist, atop hill of pink granite overlooking the Helsinki harbor sits the Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral.

It’s the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Western Europe, and the beautiful Byzantine interior glimmers, even on a dark, foggy day. Its prominent position, deep-red brick facade, and 13 gold-covered onion domes make it impossible to miss. It was no doubt meant to remind busy traders that there was something more important than profits.

The day of our visit was a typical early autumn day in Northern Europe … cool, windy, and foggy with a light rain. After settling into our chairs, we just sat quietly and gazed at the incredibly ornate interior. Worshippers stood and prayed, votive candles burned brightly, and other tourists slipped in and out noiselessly.

For me, it was another realization that, no matter what religion, if you quiet your mind and come into the moment, all holy places can be places of peace.

Happy Trails,


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

3 thoughts

    1. Thanks Tess. This cathedral is also a slightly different style, and I love the combination of colors on the exterior. The interior is wonderful, and the detail of the exterior brickwork is marvelous. ~James

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