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Moravian Church

Moravian Church, Renewed Church of the Brethren, or Unitas Fratrum (yōōnē´täs frä´trŏŏm), an evangelical Christian communion whose adherents are sometimes called United Brethren or Herrnhuters. It originated (1457) near Kunwald, Bohemia, among some of the followers of John Huss and was originally known as the Church of the Brotherhood. A break between the new brotherhood and the Roman Church occurred in 1467, and persecution drove many of the Brethren out of Bohemia and Moravia into Poland, Austria, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. The Moravians established excellent schools and printing presses, but by the end of the Thirty Years War (1648), only a remnant of the original movement remained.

In 1722 a company of those still faithful to the teachings of the Brethren took refuge in Saxony, where they built a town, Herrnhut, reviving the elements of the original church and founding the Renewed Moravian Church (1727). The church's missionary endeavors soon extended to the West Indies, North and South America, Africa, and Asia, chiefly under the direction of August Gottlieb Spangenberg, who later became (1735) the founder of the Moravian Church in America. Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz, Pa., were founded (c.1740) as Moravian settlements, and missionary work among Native Americans and white settlers was actively carried on.

In 1999 the U.S. church joined with several others in establishing full communion with the country's largest Lutheran denomination. During the late 20th cent. the church experienced increasing growth outside of its well-established communities. By 2000 church membership was about 50,000 in the United States and 700,000 worldwide, with about half of the worldwide total in Tanzania.

The Moravians emphasize conduct rather than doctrine, and their church is governed by provincial synods, the bishops having only spiritual and administrative authority. The music in Moravian churches is famous, especially the part-singing of the congregations.

See historical studies by E. Langton (1956) and J. T. Hamilton (1989); E. A. Sawyer, All about the Moravians (1990).

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Moravian

Moravian a member of a Protestant Church founded in Saxony by emigrants from Moravia, and continuing the tradition of the Unitas Fratrum, a body holding Hussite doctrines, which had its chief seat in Moravia and Bohemia.

The virtual founder of the body was Count Zinzendorf (1700–60), who was the patron of the Moravian refugees, and embraced their doctrines. The Moravians early obtained many adherents in England and colonial North America.

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Moravian

Mo·ra·vi·an / məˈrāvēən/ • n. a native of Moravia. ∎  a member of a Protestant Church founded in Saxony by emigrants from Moravia holding views derived from the Hussites and accepting the Bible as the only source of faith. • adj. of or relating to Moravia or its people. ∎  of or relating to the Moravian Church.

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Moravian Church

Moravian Church Protestant Church that originated in the 15th century in Bohemia and Moravia, among followers of Jan Hus. In the 18th century, Moravians began extensive missionary work. Several groups migrated to North America, where they founded settlements in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Today, there are Moravian communities in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and n India.

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Moravian

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