Count Zinzendorf

An epoch of persecution, oppression and disharmony followed; in the early history of the Unitas Fratrum (officially established in 1457) , there was general turmoil. From Bohemia the brothers left for the neighboring country of Moravia. Under the leadership of John Comenius, the educational reformer, many of the Moravians left for the Netherlands in the 17th century. Another group found a place of refuge at the estate of a nobleman who was in favor of the Unitas Fratrum, Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Here, where the three countries Poland, Czechia and the eastern part of the German republic meet, they founded the first village of their own called Herrnhut, which means: 'guarded by the Lord'. As a 19-year-old lad, Count Zinzendorf, born at Dresden in 1700, visited an exhibition and fell under the spell of the painting 'Ecce Homo' by the Italian Master Domenco Feti. The painting of which a replica is kept in the Unity Archives at Herrnhut shows a moving image with a crown of thorns. The German caption says: 'I have done this for you, what have you done for me?' The sight of this painting was to change Zinzendorf’s life radically.

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