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Kartanoism (Kartanolaisuus) was a Christian sect in the 1920s through the 1950s in Finland, mostly in the Satakunta region. The main centres of influence were Huittinen and Vampula, which were considered the "mother parishes" of the movement, but Kartanoism was also present in at least Kangasniemi, Lavia, Sippola and Juupajoki. The leaders of the movement were Alma Maria Kartano (1885-1953) and the "sleeping preacher" Amanda Matilda "Tilda" Reunanen (1894-1965). At first, they led the movement together, but later their paths separated because of personal arguments.

The movement was most famous for its child preachers. These child preachers, trained in secret, numbered around ten. At its largest, the movement had around one hundred members, but its societies all over Finland gathered large crowds, even over one thousand. As well as the child preachers, the movement was known for Tilda Reunanen's spirited sermons.

Alma Kartano, the founder of the movement, had studied in the Sortavala deaconess academy, but she never graduated as a deaconess. After this, she took a one-year travelling school teacher course in the Hämeenlinna teachers' seminar. She stayed in Inkerinmaa for long times, where the local preacher Voldemar Kurki introduced her to the Russian skoptsy - "castrater" and khlysts - "spanker" communities. Becoming acquintated with these movements convinced Kartano that all kinds of sexuality were evil, even when in marriage.

The sermons of Kartanoism were best known for significant coverage of waiting for the end of the world. The second coming of Jesus was thought to be coming immediately, and before it, the sinful world would receive its punishment. The Winter War provided a good reason to declare that the Wrath of God would be wrought upon the infidels. The Kartanoists themselves thought they had founded a bridal parish for the end of times, which Jesus would embrace as his own when he came. On the other hand, Kartanoism did not try to organise itself to a separate community, instead its members stayed within the Lutheran church.

Kartanoist life was strictly asceticist, including most of all total sexual abstinence, even in marriage. Women were forced to wear dark-coloured clothes, cover their heads in scarves and dress in long dresses, to avoid rousing sexual urges in men. Children were raised severely, even cruelly. The movement held prayer and sermon meetings, which could last well into the night. They included long kneeling prayers, preferably with the face pressed into the floor, and praying in such a loud voice "that the devil would flee away". The prayer meetings would often end in ecstatic experiences, where participants banged their heads and hands on the floor, shouted and wailed, had visions, spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Kartanoism received negative publicity already in the 1930s because of a certain trial, and in 1938 writer Eino Hosia from Satakunta published a novel called Tulipunaiset ratsastajat ("The scarlet riders"), criticising the movement. After this, the movement received negative publicity in various other contexts as well. After Alma Kartano's death, the movement faded away. There are currently very few Kartanoists, and they are usually integrated into the local Lutheran parishes.


  • Eino Hosia: Tulipunaiset ratsastajat, novel, 1938.
  • Kartanolaisuus. Sadismia ja perverssiä sukupuolielämää Jumalan nimen varjolla. Additional printing of Lalli magazine, 1950.
  • Saara Beckman: Tiesivätkö he mitä tekivät?, self-published, 1999.


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