BUCHENKAPELLE

A gem of a chapel in the middle of the woods: the Buchenkapelle – Buechechäppeli in the local dialect – is dedicated to Saint Anthony, a nature lover and protector of animals.

Hundreds of years ago, this place was devoted to prayer and meditation: it is known that a hermit lived here as early as the late 16th century, in an earlier building. The current chapel has always been a place of pilgrimage and bears the date 1661 on the eaves; a dedication in old German is engraved here, "to God the Father and to Mary, who speaks to him in our defence".

The chapel's patron is Saint Anthony. Inside, there is a wooden statue of him. It is actually a 15th century effigy of Saint James, which was transformed into Saint Anthony two centuries later! This saint, who founded the Christian hermit lifestyle, is also the protector of animals. He is often depicted accompanied by a pig. On Saint Anthony's day, large numbers of believers participate in the mass celebrated in the chapel, the "Antoniusaustritt". On this cold January morning they come on foot, by sleigh or on horseback. Traditionally, the priest then blesses the domestic animals: horses, dogs, etc. Even a donkey has sought anointment.

A footpath leads to the "little chapel of the beech trees" (the meaning of Buchenkapelle). The presence of several benches and a fountain make this idyllic spot an ideal stopping place.

If there are too many people to fit inside the sanctuary, the mass is celebrated outdoors. A stone altar is provided. During the patronal feast, you can sometimes see the priest and his acolytes dressed in the appropriate religious apparel but also wearing their bobble hats.
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