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Stories from Gletsch

The Anglican Church

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- History 15


There is no need to decide whether one feels closer to heaven in the mountains in principle, or whether one is more deeply moved by awe in the face of the mighty natural landscape, or whether it is a question of human civilization asserting itself in the harsh natural environment. However, there are a few examples of mountain chapels that are particularly popular for christenings or weddings.

For a long time, English tourists were the most important group of visitors to Gletsch. It is interesting to note that these English visitors did not want to do without certain habits from their homeland on their sometimes long and adventurous journeys abroad. These certainly included a good glass of whisky or a dry sherry and, on Sundays, a service in the usual Anglican rite - and “of course” in English. There had been a regular Anglican clergyman in Gletsch since 1870. At the beginning of 1900, a chapel in the typical neo-Gothic style was built according to the hotelier Joseph Seiler's own plans on behalf of the Colonial and Continental Church Society. In terms of size, it was designed for 50 to 80 people. The detached building meant that guests had to walk the 70 meters from the hotel to the chapel in all weathers.


The Seiler family later bought the chapel and after it was rededicated, the first Catholic mass was celebrated on July 17, 1932. Today, the chapel is rarely used. But the stone wall, the steep roof and the narrow spire of the bell tower are a popular photo motif, representing the contrast between the rugged mountain landscape and the romantic warmth and coziness, and to this day stand for a kind of Valais Alpine blessing with a fine English accent.

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