Peter Joseph Ruppen

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Canon Peter Joseph Ruppen (1815-1896)

Peter Joseph Ruppen (born January 27, 1815 in Saas-Balen , † November 19, 1896 in Sion ) was a Swiss chronicler of the canton of Valais and canon.


Canon Peter Joseph Ruppen was born on January 27, 1815 in Innerbalen , in Saas-Bidermatten as the son of Peter Joseph Ruppen (Saas family statistics no. 491) and Anna Maria Andenmatten (Saas family statistics no. 957).

He received his first training from the rector in Tamatten , where he was to work as rector himself from 1849–1856. He completed his theology studies on Valeria near Sion . In 1838, on April 21st, he was ordained a priest and on April 22nd, he primed in Sion. After his primacy he worked as a chaplain in the parish of Simpeln ( Simplon-Dorf ), where he only stayed for a year.

On the eve of Christmas 1839, Peter Joseph arrived in Zeneggen . Here he worked as a church lord for seven years. But it does not seem to have pleased him very much there. Once he wrote to the bishop: "I have done the math, I have now passed the penalty period, do not let me go now, Reverend Bishop, otherwise I will go." Later he often jokingly said that he would have his acid test in Zeneggen passed. On May 13, 1846, he left Zeneggen and moved to neighboring Törbel , where he seemed to like it better. He stayed here for three years. In November 1849 he took over the rectorate in Tamatten "for health reasons".

Until 1893, the Saas Valley formed a single parish with the communities of Almagell, Balen, Fee and Grund; the talk church was in Saas-Grund. The residents of the three communities Almagell, Balen and Fee had to go to Saas-Grund for all church matters such as baptism, confirmation, marriage, etc. Yes, even the funerals took place there.

In 1851 Peter Joseph Ruppen wrote The Chronicle of the Saas Valley, which is still considered the standard work on the Saas Valley today. It was based on the records of Dean Peter Joseph Zurbriggen (Saas family statistics no. 553). Notary Alois Zurbriggen and Pastor Imseng added scholarly supplements to this chronicle. The manuscript has been preserved to this day.

In 1855, on July 25th, the earth shook in Upper Valais. In Visp in particular, there was major damage to buildings. The earthquake could also be felt strongly in the Saas Valley. Canon Ruppen wrote two pages about it in his books. What is particularly interesting about this recording is how people tried to explain the earthquake scientifically at that time and how humans and animals experienced and perceived the earthquake.

On July 13, 1856, Ruppen moved from the rectorate in Tamatten to St. Niklaus , where he served as pastor for six years. Under his supervision, the church, badly damaged by the earthquake of July 25, 1855, was restored. In St. Niklaus he wrote the family statistics of the laudable parish of St. Niklaus , which were printed in Sion in 1861. This was one of the first printed family statistics in Europe to be published.

In 1862 Ruppen was elected pastor of Naters . In 1864 he wrote family statistics about the von Naters families , which are very important as they formed the basis for the other four extremely valuable family tree books of the parish of Naters. He stayed there for three years until he was elected to the cathedral chapter on June 19, 1865.

In Sion, he was the youngest canon to manage the assets of the cathedral monastery under the name of a general procurator. In 1880 he received the dignity of a grand sacristan, who is entrusted with the supervision and care of the sacred vessels, relics and vestments of the cathedral. In 1872 the book Walliser Sagen appeared which he wrote together with his friend Pastor Moritz Tscheinen. Of the 170 numbers he worked on, the manuscripts of 20 have been preserved.

Canon Ruppen had almost completely lost his eyesight in the last years of his life. He died in Sion on November 19, 1896. He was buried in the cathedral crypt.


  • Peter Joseph Ruppen, Gustav Imseng, Werner Imseng: Saaser Chronik . Rotten-Verlag, Brig 1988.
  • Peter Joseph Ruppen: The Chronicle of the Thales Saas . Valais hand woven fabric, Saas-Fee 1953.
  • Peter Joseph Ruppen: "Valais legends". Sion, 1872

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