The Mossig valley

The Protestant church in Balbronn © Eddy Schimberlé

The Protestant church in Balbronn © Eddy Schimberlé

Protestant Christians have lived in the Mossig valley since the beginning of the 16th century. The Mossig is a small river 37 km long, that begins in Lorraine, not far from the Schneeberg, “the snow mountain”, and flows into the Bruche in Avolsheim. Visit a selection of six churches (5 Lutheran and 1 Reformed) chosen for their remarkable features.


Start your tour by visiting the church in Cosswiller on the main road. Cosswiller is a mountain village with a Reformed tradition. Built in 1820 in the style of a house, the church had a little bell added to it in 1863. It is a simple and bare place of worship.


To go to Zehnacker, go past Wasselonne, and take the D112, on the other side of the D1004. This village called “the ten fields’ village” or the “tithing field” has a very quaint church, unique in Alsace. In 1852, in order to replace a simultaneous church, the Catholic and Protestant places of worship were built under the same roof, separated by an inside wall. On the Protestant entrance’s tympanum is engraved this latin phrase: “Hic domus dei et porta in coelum » (Here is God’s house and the door to heaven).


Coming back south to Wasselonne, discover the St. Laurent church in “place General Leclerc”. In 1941, this simultaneous church, built in 1757 in the Baroque style, was given to the Protestants. It has become famous for its organ, built in 1745 by Jean André Silbermann. It is older than the church and it was bought during the French revolution. The town became Protestant as from 1525.


The tour continues in Wasselonne going towards Westhoffen, by the D75. As you leave the town, you’ll find a Protestant graveyard. Do not miss the pastor’s stone pulpit, built in 1673, with a hexagonal layout. The names of prominent men from that era are engraved on its walls. On one of the sides there is a verse from book of Revelations 14:13 : « Selig sind die Toten, die in dem Herrn sterben von nun an. Sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit » (Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. They will rest from their labour).


When you get to Westhoffen, you’ll see the St. Martin church on the “place de l’Eglise”. This Gothic building that dates from the 13th and 14th centuries was renovated and enlarged at the end of the 19th century. It is a hall church with side naves as high as the central nave and it has many beautiful stained glass windows, most of which date from the 13th and 14th centuries, representing scenes of Christ’s life.


For the last stop of this tour you can visit the church in Balbronn on the main road of the village in rue Neuve. Built inside fortified walls, the church has a Romanesque nave. This place of worship was renovated at the beginning of the 20th century. It has a big glass window that relates the village’s history and recalls the Emperor Frederick I, Barbarossa and the Hohenstaufen family. A black eagle also reminds the fact that the village once belonged to the German Empire. Many interesting objects may be found inside: a 16th century offering box, the 1747 Silbermann organ’s façade, the carved wooden pulpit from 1908, as well as a curious iron hand in memory of the knight, Hans von Mittelhausen from the beginning of the 16th century.


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