St. Georgs Chapel

The conversion of the Skolt Sámi people from paganism to the Russian-Orthodox faith began in the 16th century. According to tradition, monk St. Tryphon of Pechenga built chapels in the Pasvik and Neiden districts in 1565. The current building is known as St. George’s chapel, and is about 200 years old. There is an altar and several icons inside the chapel.

Every summer, at the end of August, an orthodox pilgrimage is held in Skolt Sámi areas of Norway and Finland. The pilgrimage finishes with a sermon at St. George’s Chapel in the Skolt Sámi Village.

The area around the chapel was used as a cemetery until the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the identifiable graves are inside the fence, but the gravesite also extends beyond the fence. The graves are noticeable partly as small depressions in the landsc           ape, partly as stoned elevations. The true extent and age of the gravesite remains unknown.

In 1915 several graves outside the churchyard fence were opened to perform anthropological studies. The remains of 94 persons were transported to the Anatomical Institute in Oslo, where the oldest were dated to the 14th century. All the exhumed remains were reburied in 2011.

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