In Switzerland, Canton of Zurich, roughly 18 km east of Pfaffikon (where ERF Medien has its office), there is a Täuferhöhle, or Baptists’ cave. It is a famous place as it used to be a gathering place for the Anabaptists since the very early days, and later become a place of solitude and silent prayer.
The Zürcher Täufer was a certain group of reformed Christians, which separated from the church in 1524 in Zürich and followed their own beliefs. The main principles were adult baptism, religious freedom, and social rights. Mainly, Anabaptists considered the baptism of infants to be unbiblical and had themselves re-baptized, they were also asking for a free choice of a local pastor and abolition of church taxes.
Because of their social ideas, they were very popular among farmers and craftsmen. But because the same ideas were feared by the government and the church, they were persecuted. So they had to hide and worship in secluded places like this cave. Some of their followers in the region of Zollikon and Baretswill were so powerful that the government feared of a civil war, and decided to forbid re-baptisms. The police was searching for the leader of the group Felix Manz, who was hiding in this cave, for more than three weeks, but later he was betrayed and arrested and drowned to death in Zurich, as an apostate. It is registered that he died singing!
Around 1830 niches were found deep inside the cave containing knives, forks, spoons, thimbles and painted tiles. Another report, from 1750, speaks of a local pastor talking disparagingly about the Anabaptist hole. Others write that this location was a hiding but also a burial place.
Local legends tell about secret passages at the far end of the cave, now covered by collapsed rocks, which once led to Schloss Girenbad, another to the castle ruin Greifenberg. Another story tells about the haunted, who shoed their horses in the wrong direction in order to confuse their chasers. Another popular legend speaks of hundreds of caves. Rather unique is the legend about a huge crack in the ceiling of the cave. The story goes, that it formed in the same second Jesus died.
The cave is situated at an altitude of 910 meters in the forest in a steep hillside above the hamlet Bäretswiler Wappenswil. There is also a small waterfall. The large cave extends over a width of perhaps 20 meters and is about 10 feet deep and a maximum of about 1.5 meters tall. Because the cave floor is dry organized groups come here and can make a small picnic.
People are still persecuted for their faith even today. Please remember them in your prayers.
Photo Credit: Felix Widmer