Period IV

Hans Asper (1499 -1571), Ulrich Zwingli 1531. Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Photo/Foto: Wikipedia.

The Reformation in Switzerland

500 years ago Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) preached his religious ideas from the pulpit of the Grossmünster in Zurich. The Reformation deeply influenced the city, the canton of Zurich and Switzerland and also connects Switzerland to Europe.

The break with the Catholic tradition came in 1522 when a public sausage meal in the presence of Zwingli violated the commandment of fasting. Zwingli’s remarks aroused the anger of Pope Hadrianus VI. The Pope demanded to banish (and to burn) this priest as a heretic.

However, The Council of Zurich discussed his ideas instead. Contrary to the Pope’s instructions, the city council adopted Zwingli’s position and introduced the reformatory reforms.

The implementation of the Reformation was also the beginning of new conflicts with the Catholic opposition and cantons and the German reformer Martin Luther.

There was a rift between Zwingli and Luther, between a Reformed and a Lutheran church. There was a religious division in the Swiss Confederation of thirteen members as well.

The subsequent civil war in 1531 was not over until the last (civil) war (Sonderbundskrieg) on Swiss soil in 1847. (Source and further information:,