Rüti Abbey Church

Rüti, Switzerland

Rüti Abbey was founded in 1206 and suppressed in 1525 on occasion of the Reformation in Zürich. The abbey's church was the final resting place of the Counts of Toggenburg, among them Count Friedrich VII and 13 other members of the Toggenburg family, and other noble families.

Reformierte Kirche Rüti is today an Evangelical Reformed built between 1214 and 1250 as the Romanesque style abbey church.  In the subsequent 200 years, especially the aisles with tombs and monuments from lower and higher nobility in the area of the present north-eastern Switzerland crowded. To 1439/42 the Toggenburg chapel was added, and the abbots Markus Wiler and Felix Klauser (the abbey's last abbot) let renew fundamentally the church building, documented by the engraving 1499 on the portal of the church. The church was then a Romanesque three-nave system of stately proportions.

On 3 December 1706 a large fire on resulted in severe damage to the buildings and damaged the choir stalls. The clock tower was destroyed, the bells melted in the heat of the fire and fell through the burnt-out tower. The Baroque reconstruction of the church after the fire of 1706 took over the late Romanesque choir, but was modest in dimensions. The church was repaired again in 1710, and new bells and a new movement were added. The separation wall between the former lay church and the monk church was demolished and the church services held in the Gothic nave and choir, because the population of the parish had doubled to 700 people. In 1770, when the three-aisled basilica was damaged again, it was rebuilt as a hall church in late Baroque respectively early Classicism style.

Abbot Markus Wyler initiated the Last Judgement fresco on the chancel arch, donated by Baron Bernhard Gradner and Veronika von Starckenberg. The work on the pillars of the choir arch were re-executed in 1492 by the Swiss artist Hans Haggenberg. The gothic windows and the wall tabernacle and the coat of arms in the choir (1490) are also works donated by abbot Wyler who is buried nearby in the choir's ground floor.

The Episcopal collection of the Gallen Abbey includes the main altar of the monastery church, probably a late work by Hans Leu der Ältere around 1500. During the Reformation in Zurich the altar was moved to the Wurmsbach nunnery on Obersee lake shore where it remained until 1798. In 1872 the western gallery was built, one year later the Speich organ from Rapperswil was added. In 1903 Erich Honegger donated a Gothic baptismal font made of white sandstone.

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Founded: 1214-1219
Category: Religious sites in Switzerland

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