perjantai 16. elokuuta 2013

The graveyard

Behind the church is a graveyard. When Seili was chosen to become a hospital island in the beginning of the 17th century, one important criteria was that the island should have sand ground so that a cemetery could be founded there. It is said that the lepers would have been buried somewhere else, but archeologists have not yet found any traces of graves anywhere else on the island. If graves were found somewhere else, it would not be too hard to know whether the deceased suffered from leprosy since the disease causes mutations on the bones.
Front left: children's graves, behind the bushes: graves of staff and islanders.
The grave of Karl Isak Nordlund.

Seen from the church, the patient graves are on the right hand side at the graveyard. Most of the graves are signed with wooden crosses, since that was the cheapest option. When the woodden crosses have decayed, they have not been renewed. In stead, the place has been concidered free to use for someone else. Now a days the technical staff of the research institute renewes the crosses still on place. Since the hospital was the last 70 years for women only, there are only women names on the wooden crosses left. Some patients have got a stone or a cast iron cross, for example the priest Karl Isak Nordlund.

Some crosses are Greek Chatolic. Most Finnish Greek Chatolics live in the eastern parts of Finland. The hospital was a state hospital, and patients were taken there from all around Finland, and also some foreign patients are found in the documents. Thought the church was a protestant one, it served all patients.
Graves of the Holländer family.

On the left hand side there are the graves of the staff and the islanders. Some of these graves are rather new. Most of the islanders of the old families are now living on Seili only during summertime, but if they want, they may be buried in the cemetery of  Seili. In the middle of the hillside are graves of the Holländer family. The Holländers kept from the middle of the 19th century many high offices at the hospital. Many older documents state that the Holländers were highly respected, and thought to have taken order and good customs to the hospital. Later the Holländers Finnished their name to Hallantie.

Next to the Holländer graves is the grave of E. von Knorring, who died in the middle of the 19th century. He was the director of the hospital, until he started drinking and fight with another person from the staff. He also got caught for embezzeling money from the hospital. Soon he was taken as a patient of his own hospital, with the diagnosis ”paranoia”. His co-fighter was taken to prison.

Lisa Svanfeldt-Winter

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