Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Brief History of the Moravian Church

I've had the opportunity to do some preaching at the local Main Street Moravian Church in Northfield.  The church does not have a pastor and I have been helping them out about once a month.  They are a small church, filled with very friendly people.

Most people are not real familiar with the Moravian denomination, so here's a few notes for those of you who are interested (from the Moravian Church website):

- from the ancient regions of Bohemia and Moravia, which is present day Czech Republic
- born out of the Czech reformation in defiance of the ecclesiastical rule of Rome in the late 1300s, early 1400s
- early leader was John Hus, a professor at University of Prague who was convicted of heresy and killed by Roman Catholic Church in 1415
- followers of Hus gathered in town in eastern Bohemia and organized the new ‘Moravian Church’ in 1457, 60 years before Luther and 100 years before first Anglican Church
- by 1517 these were 200,000 Moravians, but numbers dwindled as severe persecution ensured for the next 100 years starting in 1547
- the 1700s brought renewed growth as Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf provided safety for Moravian refugees (around 1732)
- 1741 Moravians bought land and established Bethlehem, PA as the home of American Moravianism (on the estate of George Whitefield), they later established Winston-Salem, NC
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