Tapio Luoma installed Archbishop in Finland

The installation of Archbishop Tapio Luoma in Turku cathedral, Finland. Photo: Timo Jakonen
The installation of Archbishop Tapio Luoma in Turku cathedral, Finland. Photo: Timo Jakonen

LWF General Secretary receives St Henry’s cross, highest honour of Finnish church

(LWI) Tapio Luoma, newly installed Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF), emphasized the need for compassion and putting people first in the church in his sermon at the installation.

”Jesus’ message about the correct order of values tells us what the Christian faith and the life of the church is all about,” the new Archbishop said. “It is about the human being, created by God; the human being, who needs another human being and God; the human being, whose decisions and choices have a bearing on other human beings and the whole of creation; the human being, loved by God and through whom God wants to show God’s love everywhere.”

Tapio Luoma was installed Archbishop of the ELCF, a member church of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), in Turku Cathedral on 3 June 2018. Luoma, who previously served as Bishop of Espoo, was elected Archbishop on 1 March 2018 and took office on 1 June. He succeeds former Archbishop Kari Mäkinen.

“It is a joy and an honor to be part of this important day in your life, and the life of this church,” said LWF General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Junge, who together with church leaders from the Nordic region, the global communion of churches and ecumenical partners took part in the installation.

“You take the office of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in complex, if not convoluted times in world history.,” Junge said. “So many developments point at increasing polarization and fragmentation in the world, and indeed also in the church. It is becoming harder for people, communities, and States to work together.” The LWF General Secretary invited the new Archbishop to “continue engaging in the journey of the Lutheran World Federation,” and the joint witness of LWF member churches in the world.

The Christian life and faith of the church is about “the human being, whose decisions and choices have a bearing on other human beings and the whole of creation; the human being, loved by God and through whom God wants to show God’s love everywhere.”
Tapio Luoma, Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

Serving the people in times of fragmentation

Preaching on Matthew 16:24-27, Archbishop Luoma stated that Finland needs a discussion on values. “Opinion is divided over many questions in our society,” he said. “Ever hardening views divide people into different camps who struggle to communicate with each other.”

“However, there is something that our diverging views do find valuable and important, namely what is good for the human being. This is something responsible choice and decision-making tries to take into account,” he said.

Tapio Luoma was born in 1962. He was ordained pastor in 1987 and became Bishop of Espoo in February 2012. He served as vicar for Seinäjoki parish 2002–2012, as an assessor for the Diocese of Lapua 2001–2007, and as county dean in the Deanery of Southern Ostrobothnia 2010–2012. Moreover, he has held a seat in the General Synod and several other church bodies. 

St. Henry’s cross awarded to LWF General Secretary

On the day before the new Archbishop’s installation, outgoing Archbishop Mäkinen awarded the St. Henry’s cross to the LWF General Secretary, Rev Dr Martin Junge. The cross is the highest honor and accolade, given to Finns or to foreigners of ecumenical merit, who have promoted relations with the sister churches of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, for significant humanitarian work undertaken abroad or as recognition of mission work.

In his speech, Mäkinen highlighted the General Secretary Junge’s leadership in shaping the LWF’s ecumenical relations, a strategy promoting gender equality and youth participation, and the LWF’s ongoing commitment to support forcibly displaced people worldwide. 

“Junge has consciously built up the identity of the LWF as a Communion. This has been an important direction for all the member churches, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. At the same time Junge has worked as a bridge builder when tension has arisen between LWF members,” Mäkinen said. “Martin Junge is a strong ecumenical leader of values, whose work and representation as the voice of global Lutheranism has given special support to the work and positioning of local churches.”

Read the Press Release (in Finnish)