Vivamo Retreat Center celebrates 100th anniversary


By the beautiful lake Lohjanjärvi, approximately 60 kilometers west of Helsinki and only four kilometers away from the city center of Lohja is situated retreat center Vivamo, which is owned by Logos Ministeries of Finland. This year Vivamo celebrates it’s 100th birthday. 

An eventful history of Vivamo

The history of Vivamo dates back to as early as the year 1916. At that time Karin af Björkesten, who was the daughter of the senator from Helsinki, bought Vivamo from Mr. Cronsted, the estate baron of Vohloinen. Later Karin af Björkesten donated Vivamo to Karin Stråhle, the daughter of estate Perheniemi from the city of Iitti, Finland. At first the life in Vivamo was really modest and people there focused on praying and studying the Bible. Vivamo also welcomed guests from all over Finland.

In the 1950s Karin Stråhle and her sister Mary wanted to donate Vivamo forward to some Christian organization. By chance, Logos Ministeries of Finland, an organization that was founded after the wars, was looking for some place to settle. The story tells that in 1952 the first executive director of the Logos Ministeries of Finland, Mauri Tiilikainen, visited Vivamo and he put his feelings into these legendary words: “Indeed, this place is for the purposes of the God’s kindom”. So, sisters Karin and Mary Stråhle gave Vivamo away to Logos Ministeries of Finland. Their only wish to the organization was that they could continue to live in the area: “As long as there is food and a place to stay, it’s enough”. After new hosts settled to Vivamo, life revived and confirmation schools started. Even to this day Vivamo runs confirmation schools and camps during summer time.

The theme of the anniversary year is “Hands”

Theme tells us about serving hands of Vivamo during its long history. Karin Stråhle had lost her other hand in thresing machine accident in 1927, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to work in Vivamo. Still today the wooden hand can be found in the vitrine of Vivamo museum. That hand is a proof of how presistent Karin was to continue her work and to perform spiritual vocation – by serving with her hands. Theme hands comes up in many programs during anniversary year.

Year 2016 is full of events

In honor of 100 years of its existence, Vivamo offers many different events in 2016. Once a month, during the whole year, Bible seminars are held. Seminars focus on current issues, such as war and peace, Bible and science and the question, is Bible divine or temporal. 

Besides seminars, Vivamo’s year 2016 offers for exemple a musical play “The Hands”, two celebration camps (first is from 12.5. to 15.5. with the theme “gratitude and loyalty”, and the second from 28.7. to 31.7. with the theme “future and hope”), Hands – photography contest and Hands – photography exhibition from the results of photography contest. In addition to these, Vivamo celebrates of course annual festivals, such as Easter, Christmas and New Year. 

Vivamo is worth a visit

As a destination, Vivamo is definitely worth a visit. It’s only one hour drive away from Helsinki and just a little over an hour from the city of Turku. You can also travel by bus from Helsinki. By bus you can get to the center of Lohja and some of the buses go even straight to Vivamo. The address to Vivamo is Vivamontie 2, 08200 LOHJA.

Head to Lohja, Western Uusimaa and visit vacation – and course center Vivamo!
Suvi Mäkinen