The Lord's Watch: the Moravians
As its name suggests, the Moravian movement originated in Moravia, a province in present-day Czechoslavakia. At first an independent state, Moravia was taken into Bohemia under the flag of the German Empire in 1029. And it was in Bohemia that Jan Hus, one of the 'pre-Reformation reformers', led resistance to the Church of Rome and was finally martyred in 1415.
After his heroic death, a group who maintained his beliefs eventually formed a New Testament community at Kunwald. In 1457 they established what they called 'The Church of the Brotherhood'. They were subsequently joined by others of similar outlook and their title then became Unitas Fratrum (The Unity of the Brethren) or, more usually, the Moravians. Their numbers grew so rapidly that by the early seventeenth century it was claimed that more than half the Protestant population of Europe had been won over to them. When the Bohemians were defeated soon after the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, many of the Moravians had to run for their lives. They were scattered all over Europe and some abandoned their faith. But a few held together, even in Bohemia - the 'hidden seed' for whom the first Moravian bishop, Jan Amos Comenius, prayed so fervently while exiled in Poland. His faith was to be vindicated in a most exciting fashion.
In 1715 there were signs of spiritual revival in Bohemia - both at Fulnek (where Comenius had ministered) and at Lititz. Then in 1722 two families named Neisser, led by Christian David (known as 'the servant of the Lord'), left Bohemia for a settlement in Saxony provided for them by a Lutheran nobleman. Count Nikolaus ofZinzendorf. He placed his estate at Bertheldsdorfat their disposal. In the next seven years some 300 Protestant refugees made their ...