Dispatch from Lausanne: September 29, 2019

Lausanne, Switzerland

Dispatch from Lausanne: September 29, 2019

UPDATE: Some pics from Christ Church, Lausanne.

We have been almost a week in Europe; a couple of days in Zurich and then down to Lausanne on Lake Geneva (Lac Lemon). Here are a few notes on churches we’ve seen and will attend.

As a Christian who practices in the Lutheran tradition, we look to 1517 as the key year in Reformation history, when Martin Luther challenged the theological community of his day to discuss his 95 Theses. But in Switzerland, the important date for the broader Reformation is 1523. That was the year Huldrych Zwingli published his 67 Artikel, which set forth reforms in Zurich.

Grossmünster Church, Zurich

We visited Grossmünster Church in Zurich, where Zwingli served as preaching pastor and advanced his own Reformation agenda throughout Switzerland. It is a primary landmark in the city of Zurich, its two majestic towers dominating the old city skyline.

We also walked across the bridge to Fraumünster Church, another Reformed Church. I was most keen to visit here, because this church has a remarkable set of stained glass windows by one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall. No photography was allowed inside the building, so I can’t show you what we saw, but in days to come I plan to do a series on Sundays using these windows and the messages they convey, so we will look at them then. Here is a view of the Fraumünster Church, though.

Fraumünster Church, Zurich

Today, we will be attending worship at Christ Church, an Anglican congregation in Lausanne, followed by a tour of Lausanne’s primary landmark, The Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne.

More pictures and reports to come.

Update: Here is Christ Church in Lausanne, exterior and interior.

16 thoughts on “Dispatch from Lausanne: September 29, 2019

  1. Christ Church in Lausanne is beautiful, fetching, and made to last.
    It will be there long after any recently built fundagelical-mega-church here in the States has its roof caving in from water damage and weeds taking over its expansive parking lot.


  2. I play for their morning service once every two months, pity I missed CM!

    It’s an interesting organ: pneumatic action stretches under the floor, from left to right as you see it in the photo. So it’s a bit ‘mushy’ and not as precise as a mechanical action. But in my case that covers a multitude of sins 🙂

    I believe the blowers still have the original electric motors from nearly a century ago.

    The guy who lovingly tends the organ is one of the church wardens, you can see him in the photo with the checked shirt.


  3. In fairness, Christchurch and other Anglican churches in the area are victims of changing times. When it was built, there was an enormous English diaspora in the area. That has much diminished – though there are still English-speaking employees of large multinationals, but there is now more competition in terms of English-speaking evangelical and free churches.

    The French-speaking part of Switzerland actually has (proportionally) a lot of Protestant churches (possibly because they got chased out of France).


  4. Thanks, CM – beautiful. And I bet the Chagall windows completely bowled you over.

    Yeah, Zwingli – I’m sure he had his strengths, but he was the one who reduced Holy Communion to strictly remembering, something inside one’s own head. Just as sad as the plainness of the buildings, imnsho.

    For all that plainness and Zwingli/Reformed history, yet the name remains: Frauenmunster means “Lady cathedral” – the Lady in question being Mary, the Mother of God.



  5. Lol. And I never really thought about it before, but no doubt there has been a cult at some point in time whose leader has proclaimed that nude baptisms were the only way to do it.


  6. Years ago, my wife and I visited Zurich and we love to walk though old historic churches. When you go to old Reformed churches, the stained glass and art have been removed. It’s sad since that is part of the beauty of these old churches. In addition, you don’t see crucifixes but simple crosses.

    If you go into Germany to a Lutheran church, you see art and beauty.


  7. Mike, I googled the Marc Chagall windows at Fraumunster. Very Chagall. For a Jew, he made a lot of Christian art, notably the White Crucifixion. And he was an inspiration to Chaim Potok in the Asher Lev novels, where Asher has nowhere to go but the cross and the suffering of Christ for some of his art.

    Keep us posted.


  8. Looking at the pictures on their website makes me marvel at the beauty of Christ Church’s interior; at the same time it saddens me to know that such beautiful European churches are rarely full of worshipers on a Sunday morning.


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