Lucerne’s Main Churches


Church St. Ladogar (St. Ladogar im Hof, called Hof Church) 

The history of this church goes back on the 8th Century when there was an abbey consecrated to Saint Maurice on the current site of the actual church. It had been donated by Pepin the Short and was known at the time as the “Monasterium Luciaria”. By the 12th Century the Abbey was under the jurisdiction of the Murbach Abbey whose patron Saint was St. Ladogar. 

In 1291, the year of foundation of the Swiss Confederation, it was sold to the Habsburgs. In 1433 the city of Lucerne took control of the Abbey and in 1455 it was converted to a “universal Church”. 

The monastery experienced a heyday during the time of the reformation due to Lucerne being a prominent city for the Swiss Catholic cantons. The papal nuncio, resident in Lucerne, used the church as his cathedral during this time.

In 1874 the parish church of St. Ladogar was founded and the church became simultaneously a monastery church and parish church, as it is today. 

Today’s church was partly built from 1633 to 1639 on the foundation of the Roman basilica which had burnt in 1633. This church was one of the few built north of the Alps during the Thirty Years War and one of the largest and art history rich churches of the German late renaissance period.


St. Mary to Franciscan church (Franziskaner Kirche) 

This is one of the oldest churches of Lucerne built around 1270 as a church of the Franciscus monastery. It was built in gothic style. During the 17/18th century it got it’s today’s baroque equipment.

 On the walls in the middle of the church there is a painted flag cyclus. In earlier times the flags captured by the Lucerne soldiers hang here. The painting of the high altar was painted by Renward Forer in 1736. It shows the shepards worship.  The choir stalls were maid from 1647 to 1651 by Kaspar Tüfel from Sursee and Hans Räber. The significant pulpit was built in 1628 by Niklaus Geisler and the paintings on the ceiling was painted by Georg Hunkeler from Altishofen.


Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkirche) 

The Jesuit Church was the first large baroque church built in Switzerland north of the Alps. The actual church was built between 1666 and 1667. It is an expression of the Catholic Church’s 17th century struggle to regain spiritual leadership in the counter-reformation. It shows, that the Catholics then refused to accept any discussion on major points of criticism by the protestant churches. Instead baroque architecture displays power and glory and emphasizes exactly those parts of Catholic tradition (especially the veneration of the saints) and visual culture (as opposed to the protestant emphasis on the world of the biblical skriptural).

 This church was built for a double usage, as the church of the Jesuit gymnasium and as the church of the Jesuits for spiritual welfare. The padres came to Lucerne in 1576 and started to teach the same year. The school remained working until 1966!