Barfuß means barefoot in German, but that doesn’t mean you have to take off your shoes and socks before entering the Protestant Barfüßlerkirche in Augsburg. Nor does it mean you can buy shoes here, even though some younger Germans know Barfüßler mainly as a chain of shoe stores.
What it does mean is that this church was originally founded by one of the religious orders whose members used to go barefoot or at least only wear sandals, because that was how they understood the instruction that Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 10:10.
(My interpretation is that he was just telling them to travel light and not carry an extra pair of shoes with them on their travels, but I’m no theologian. In any case, going barefoot in the winter in Germany is not very sensible, so most current members of these orders do tend to wear shoes, a far as I know, and hopefully also get their annual flu shots.)
Bertolt Brecht was baptized and later confirmed in the Barfüßlerkirche, which is right around the corner from the house where he was born. In the church there are now a number of text-panels with information about Brecht’s childhood and youth in Augsburg.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart paid a visit to this church in 1777 with his cousin “Bäsle” and the master organ builder Johann Andreas Stein. One of Stein’s organs was installed here, and Mozart (who was 21 at the time) took the opportunity to play it.
My photo in this post is from 2004. I revised the text in 2020.
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1 thought on “The Barefoot Church”
I always assumed, like you, that the instruction was simply to travel light and carry the bare (sorry for the pun) minimum, not to go without shoes altogether 🙂