The Swiss “Prophezey” Pavilion now open at the World Reformation Exhibition!

Under the patronage of Switzerland’s ambassador to Germany, Christine Schraner Burgener, Gottfried Locher, President of the Council of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) and Charles Morerod, President of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference (SBC) opened the Swiss Pavilion with the title “Prophezey – the Swiss Reformation” at the “Gates of Freedom” world exhibition in Wittenberg, Germany on May 20, 2017.
Photo: © Stefano Graziani

From May 20 through September 10, 2017, some 80 representatives of church, politics, culture, business, and civil society are presenting an entertaining range of exhibitions along the medieval Wittenberg town ramparts. The Swiss Pavilion, located at “Torraum 7 Kultur” at the gate, is composed of four thematic areas: the Veranda; the Prophezey featuring the Zurich Bible; Froschauer with the printing press; and the Arts (Künstlerei) presenting the angels of the apocalypse.

As FSPC Council President Gottfried Locher explained: “Trailblazing impulses for change came from Switzerland 500 years ago. Zwingli and Bullinger developed Christianity into a religion of education. And John Calvin transformed the Reformation into a worldwide movement once and for all.”

In the words of Charles Morerod, President of the Bishops’ Conference: “It is important that we share our knowledge of Reformation history with one another in order to understand it better. Otherwise one would always only see one side of things. That the Swiss Bishops’ Conference brought a German translation of the Bible to Wittenberg that was written in Switzerland before the Reformation indeed speaks to the continuity that we are able to recognize better today.”

The FSPC is involved in the exhibition to present the “other” Reformation movement, which unfolded at the same time the Reformation did in Germany. The history of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the area of today’s Switzerland is multi-layered and complicated, and is both local and international in nature. This history continues to have an effect on people and their identities today, and cannot be fully understood solely in terms of nation or confession. The Swiss exhibition is therefore ecumenical in orientation, with the Roman Catholic Swiss Bishops’ Conference acting as the co-presenter.

The Swiss Pavilion thus aims to provide visitors with an informative experience in an enjoyable atmosphere. This should reflect Switzerland as a country and support both intercultural learning and an exchange on basic values and the building blocks of the European identity.

Basel-based architects Christ & Gantenbein, who designed the pavilion, have described it as “a simple construction that emits a sense of both ‘wellbeing’ and ‘piety’, while appearing as a kind of workshop area.” The exhibition, led by Gabriel de Montmollin and Juri Steiner, reflects on the people, moments, objects, and places of the Swiss Reformation. It revolves around the Zurich Bible and a replica Gutenberg printing press, made for the exhibition, with which visitors can print individual pages of the Zurich Bible.

Welcome to the Reformation workshops!

Prophezey – the Swiss Reformation

Torraum 7 Kultur in Wittenberg

The exhibition is open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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