Wädenswil (Canton Zürich, Switzerland)

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wädenswil (Wädenswyl, Wädiswill), a village in the canton of Zürich, Switzerland, was the scene of a disputation by the Reformed clergy with the Anabaptists on 26 January 1613, whose purpose was to secure the return of the Anabaptist dissenters to the Reformed Church. Fifteen Anabaptists appeared, led by Elder Hans Landis of Horgerberg, supported by Galli Fuchs, a schoolteacher, and Bachmann, a blacksmith. The representatives of the authorities were Zürich burgomaster Rudolf Rhaan, Landvogt Konrad Grebel, Pastor Hans Jacob Breitinger of St. Peter's Church in Zürich, and the parish pastors of Horgen, Wädenswyl, and Richterswyl. The protocol of the disputation is to be found in the Zürich Staatsarchiv II. 44, under the title "Action mit den Wiedertauffern in Schloss der Herrschaft Wädiswil 26. I. anno 1613 gehalten."

Breitinger, the chief Reformed speaker, sought the reason for the separation of the Anabaptists from the state church. The repeated answer of the Anabaptists was that the life of the members of the state church manifested gross sin, and that sinners were admitted to the communion along with the godly. When Breitinger argued from the parable of the tares that the church should not attempt to root out the sinners but leave that to God, the Anabaptists only felt their view confirmed. The appeal of the burgomaster that they submit to the authorities and return to the church, that the authorities would appreciate their holy living, "the holier the better," fell on deaf ears. The Anabaptists steadfastly refused to yield and said unitedly, "We are ready to sacrifice life, body, property, and blood." They pleaded for toleration.

A second disputation in March 1613 had no better results. Landis refused all compromises, including the offer of emigration, saying, "The earth is the Lord's and no one has the authority to expel them from the country."

Thereupon the authorities invoked upon Anabaptists the heavy penalty of six years of service as galley slaves in the French or Venetian navies, a severe punishment usually reserved for criminals. Three recanted. The other three, Landis, Galli, and Stephan Zehender, were sent in chains to Solothurn en route to the French galley, where they fortunately escaped. When Landis returned to Zurich the next year to serve his flock, he was arrested, tried, and executed on 29 September 1614, as the last Anabaptist martyr (by direct execution) in Switzerland.

See also Horgen and Zürich


Bergmann, Cornelius. Die Täuferbewegung im Kanton Zürich bis 1660. Leipzig, 1916, 82-88.

Geiser, Samuel. Die Taufgesinnten-Gemeinden. Karlsruhe, 1931. 377-389.

Kläui, Paul. "Hans Landis of Zürich." Mennonite Quarterly Review 22 (1948): 203-211.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Wädenswil (Canton Zürich, Switzerland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 25 Jan 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=W%C3%A4denswil_(Canton_Z%C3%BCrich,_Switzerland)&oldid=143782.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Wädenswil (Canton Zürich, Switzerland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 January 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=W%C3%A4denswil_(Canton_Z%C3%BCrich,_Switzerland)&oldid=143782.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp. 865-866. All rights reserved.

©1996-2020 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.