Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moravians, North and South

With a little critical distance, all beliefs may seem a little weird, especially if they're not now your own. Take the Moravians, for instance. When I worked in Duke's Perkins Library in Durham, USA, a zealous Catholic library assistant referred to Moravians not as Protestants, but as "heretics." My, I thought, are we still living in the Middle Ages? Apparently, in some ways, she was. She also believed that with every birthday, one's guardian angel grew a foot taller. She, no doubt, would have looked askance at another worker at the Fuqua School of Business Library named Florene, a fascinating person who kept her long hair in a massive bun -- she was part of a little known Christian sect originating in the Netherlands, another "heresy."

After a heavily persecuted beginning more than 550 years ago that drove them underground, the Moravians / Unitas Fratrum / Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine / Jednota bratrská now openly number nearly a million people. It is a peaceful Christian sect, epitomized by the motto: "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity." In the North American colonies, the Moravians were organized into a Northern Province (centered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) and a Southern Province (centered in what is now called Winston-Salem, North Carolina). Those in the know will probably think of food (eg., Moravian cookies), architecture and music, plus the Moravian Star pictured alone and in a cluster above.  How about you?

Today's Rune: Defense.


Sidney said...

Interesting, I used to cover religion as a reporter but did not have Moravians in our coverage area.

Lana Gramlich said...

Being raised blissfully ignorant among wealthy, New York Jewry, I've never heard of them (except, perhaps, as "goyim.") I love those lit stars, though--very cool!

t said...

"In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."
- someone thought long and hard before crafting that one. Wow.