Funeral services

Reserving funeral services

A funeral service usually takes place in a chapel in a cemetery, in a church, or beside the grave within two to three weeks of the death. In Helsinki, funeral services are held from Tuesday to Saturday.

The Östersundom cemetery has a church, and the other cemeteries apart from Maunula have chapels. The smallest of them seats approximately 50 people, with the new chapel in Hietaniemi having space for over 200 mourners. Chapels can be reserved for a funeral service through the central registry. Bookings for the private crematorium chapel in the Hietaniemi cemetery are made through the Finnish Cremation Foundation, whereas services in churches are organised through parish offices. When setting the time for the service, you should make sure that the time also is convenient for the officiating minister.

The use of chapels or churches for a funeral service is free of charge if the deceased was a member of a Lutheran parish; otherwise, a fee is charged. The Finnish Cremation Foundation always charges a fee for use of the crematorium chapel. The services of the officiating minister are free for everyone’s use, and parish members do not have to pay for the services of an organist or a verger.

Contacting a minister and organist

The funeral ceremony is usually officiated by a minister from the deceased’s parish, but the family may request any other minister if they so wish. The service will, of course, be more intimate and personal if the minister knows the family or knew the deceased.

It is important for the family and minister to meet before the funeral, to agree on the order of the service and give the minister an opportunity to learn about the deceased and the family’s expectations. At the meeting, the family can also inform the minister in confidence of anything they do not wish to be mentioned during the service. This is also a good opportunity for the family to talk about their feelings related to their loss.

The organist of the chapel or the parish organist on duty is responsible for the music at the ceremony. If the service is officiated by a Lutheran minister, an organist does not need to be booked separately. When one is planning music for the ceremony, it is a good idea to contact the organist, who can help you choose suitable music.