Christianity in Switzerland
28 March 2019
At the beginning of the 5th century and throughout the 6th century, Christianity had taken root in Switzerland. The oldest church foundations of St. Maurice, Chur and Geneva date from the 4th century.
The abbey of St. Maurice was founded in 516. Christian congregations existed in the fifth century in Romainmôtier, Nyon, Yverdon, Avenches, Windisch, Augst, Basel, and Martigny. The abbeys of Moutier-Grandval and St. Ursanne were founded around 630.
It took some longer in the countryside. Most churches were founded in the late 6th and early 7th centuries. The dioceses gradually expanded across the countryside.
Christianity was already firmly rooted in Raetia in the 5th century.
The bishops of Chur were first mentioned in 451. Around 600, a diocese was founded in Constance in the Duchy of the Alamanni. Raetia remained independent for a long time, but the Carolingians became increasingly dominant.
The Victoriden dynasty, ruling over Raetia since 550, died out around 775, and Charlemagne appointed Frankish counts as rulers in Raetia.
The Carolingians founded monasteries in Reichenau, Pfäfers, and Disentis and appointed Frankish bishops in Constance and St. Gallen in the eighth century.
They also controlled the passes and roads to Lombardy. The Carolingian/Frankish rulers and their successors (from 962 onwards, the German kings and later the Habsburg emperors) maintained their influence for centuries to come, formally until the transfer of Tarasp (1803) and Rähzüns (1819) to the canton of Graubünden.