The Moravian Church also known as the Unity of the Brethern originated in the late 14th century in the Czech Republic. The church values Christian unity, personal piety, missions and music.
The church's emblem is the Lamb of God with the flag of victory, surrounded by the inscription: "Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him."
The modern Moravian Church has approximately 825,000 members worldwide, and continues to draw on traditions established during the 18th century renewal.
In many places it observes the convention of the lovefeast, originally started in 1727, and continues to use older and traditional music in worship. In addition, in some older congregations, Moravians are buried in a traditional God's Acre, a graveyard organized by gender, age, and marital status rather than family.
The faith was started by John Huss who objected to some of the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and wanted to return the church in Bohemia and Moravia to what were the practices in these territories when it had been Eastern Orthodox. He wanted the liturgy in the Czech language, having lay people receive communion in bread and wine, married priests, and eliminating indulgences and the idea of Purgatory.
Evidence of their roots in Eastern Orthodoxy can be seen today in their form of the Nicene Creed, which like Orthodox Churches, does not include the filioque clause. In rejecting indulgences, Jan Hus can be said to have adopted a doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone; in doing so, the Moravians became the first Protestant church.
The movement gained royal support and automony for a while, but was eventually forced to be subject to the authority of Rome. Hus was tried by the Council of Constance and burned at the stake (1415).
Within fifty years of Hus's death, some of his followers had become independently organized as the Bohemian Brethren or Unity of the Brethren which was founded in Kunvald, Bohemia, in 1457. These were the earliest Protestants, rebelling against Rome more than a hundred years before Martin Luther.
After 1620, due to the Counter Reformation and the Thirty-Years War (1618–1648), and after being abandoned and betrayed by the local nobility, who had previously tolerated or supported them, the Brethren were forced to operate underground and eventually dispersed across Northern Europe as far as the Low Countries.
The largest remaining communities of the Brethren were located in Poland, which had historically strong ties with the Czechs, as well as in small, isolated groups in Moravia.
Today, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church claims also to be a modern successor of the Moravian tradition.
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