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Ringing church bells pay tribute to victims in war-ravaged Syria

Helsinki's Evangelical Lutheran Kallio church started the initiative that sees 70 churches across the country ringing their bells daily at 5 pm to pay tribute to the victims in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo in Syria.

Kallion kirkko
Helsinki's Kallio church leaders started the initiative. Image: Ronnie Holmberg/Yle

Across the country church bells will be ringing as dozens of churches across Finland pay tribute to the victims in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, Syria.

The initiative came from Helsinki's Evangelical Lutheran Kallio church.

Bishop Björn Vikström has encouraged congregations of Finland to join in the daily bell toll at 5 pm.

To date, at least 70 churches across the country are taking part in the commemoration, which will continue for 12 days until United Nations Day on October 24.

Idea started in Kallio

Teemu Laajasalo of the Kallio congregation says that the reason for the unified ringing is to pay respect to the victims in Aleppo and draw attention to the situation. "We know that nothing can justify the suffering of children and civilians in Aleppo, yet at the same time we are unable to find a solution (to end the war)," he says.

According to Laajasalo, it's rare in Finland to have churches ringing their bells in unison. The last time it happened on a large scale was to mark the 1986 funeral of Finland's longest-serving president, Urho Kekkonen, who served from 1956-1982.

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