A few people will also be familiar with the name of Ulrich Zwingli. Zwingli and Martin Luther were contemporaries. Zwingli, it is said, was the "father of the Swiss Reformation." (Yep, Calvin came along a little later.) An ordained Catholic priest, Zwingli served two parishes in Switzerland before being sent to Zurich as head of the prominent "people's church" (the Grossmunster).
Interestingly enough, something had happened to Zwingli along the way. First, he became increasingly concerned about the practices of the Church (selling of indulgences, the debauchery of priests, the use of young Swiss men to fight the pope's battles, to name a few.)
Second, he discovered the Bible. He had met the famous Greek scholar, Erasmus, along the way and was deeply influenced by him. As a result of this encounter, Zwingli threw himself into study of Erasmus' Greek New Testament and became convinced that only the Bible should be preached in church. Imagine that . . . . . .
To keep the story short, by 1526 Zwingli had firmly established the Reformation in Zurich. He removed all vestiges of Catholicism from the churches, replaced the mass with a simple service, declared communion was spiritual presence, not "real presence" (he differed even from Luther at this point), abolished pilgrimages, advocated the marriage of priests, and closed all the neighboring monasteries.
He was a tough guy. He did not brook dissent. He was known for his "fire and brimstone" sermons. (If I had a pulpit like his, I might be inclined to same.) He also was willing to fight for his cause. In fact, he died at age 47 fighting Catholic forces. It is significant that various paintings as well as the main statue of Zwingli (in front of the Wasserkirche, the "Water Church") portray him with both Bible and sword in hand.
Statue of Zwingli in front of the Wasserkirche, the place where he landed when he first came to Zurich. It is called the "Water Church" because it originally stood on a small island in the Limmat River.
The organ inside the Wasserkirche.
Note that the Reformer is described in this recent plaque as a "Humanist, Bible translator, Head of the Zurich Church." He was born on New Year's Day, 1484, in Wildhaus, Switzerland. He was the "friar" (minister) in two other towns. Then in 1519, he became the "people's priest" at the Grossmunster. In 1524, was the wedding with Anna. He fell on Oct. 11, 1531 in the second battle (or war) of Chapelle.
This is older plaque on the wall outside Zwingli's main house.
This is his house--today it is apartments, like every other building in Zurich.
The newer plaque on the wall indicating this as the primary residence where the teacher and the choirmaster lived earlier and then Zwingli in 1522.
"Zwingli's primary residence. From this house on Oct. 11, 1531, he went with the armies of the Zurichers to Chappelle where he died for his faith."
The first part of this plaque says this is where the widow and children of Zwingli lived after he died fighting the Catholics.
This is Mrs. Zwingli's neighborhood, looking down the alley from her front door.
The Grossmunster, a grand example of early Romanesque architecture with a touch of Gothic in its towers and contemporary in its 20th-century stained glass, is Zurich's most famous landmark. It's twin towers and the Fraumunster's ("Church of Our Lady") single spire just across the river create a striking skyline.The sign indicates that the Grossmunster is built on the site where Zurich's patron saints Felix and Regula were martyred in 300 AD and is the "mother church" of Zwingli's Reformation. Construction of the crypt began around 1100. The new construction of the main cathedral followed around 1230. The tower you see today was finished 1781-1786.
The Grossmunster ("Large Church") from across the bridge.
The cloister and garden inside the Grossmunster grounds.
The big bronze door commemorating the life of Zwingli at the entrance to the Grossmunster. We could not take pictures inside this church.
Heinrich Bullinger was the capable successor of Zwingli. His statue is on the wall just beside the bronze door.
Course I'd like to take at the University of Zurich.