After a lunch overlooking the falls at Rhine Falls, our walking tour of Zürich began with a visit to Grossmunster where Ulrich Zwingli, the most important reformer of the Swiss Reformation movement, served as pastor. A statue outside the church with Zwingli holding the Bible and a sword, was in sharp contrast to the beliefs of the Anabaptists, who he saw as threats to the reformation that he was leading.
We visited the building where it’s believed the first rebaptisms was held in 1525, including the rebaptisms of George Blaurock, Felix Manz and Conrad Grebel. In the courtyard outside the building was a fountain that quite possibly was where water was drawn for the baptisms. Today, an older man, and what may have been his granddaughter were playing in the water, squirting each other with water guns, having a grand time. With temperatures in the mid 90’s, no doubt many of us wanted to join them, but we had more important things to do.
From there we walked to the Limmat River and came to the site where Felix Manz was drowned for his faith. Manz was the first Anabaptist martyr, and died 20 days shy of the second anniversary of his rebaptism. Today there’s a plaque on the site of the drowning commemorating Manz’s martyrdom and noting the last martyr in Zurich was Hans Landis in 1614.
At the end of our walk we were keenly aware that we stood at the center of the birth of Anabaptism, and more aware of the many sacrifices made by our ancestors.
– JB Miller, Classic Anabaptist European Tour II 2023