Archive for the ‘Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf’ Tag

Feast of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres (April 8)   1 comment

Above:  The Church of the Holy Communion, New York, New York

Image Source = New York Public Library

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG (SEPTEMBER 6, 1711-OCTOBER 7, 1787)

Patriarch of American Lutheranism

His feast day transferred from October 7

great-grandfather of

WILLIAM AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG (SEPTEMBER 16, 1796-APRIL 8, 1877)

Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgical Pioneer

colleague of

ANNE AYRES (JANUARY 3, 1816-1896)

Foundress of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One church, one book.

–Henry Melchior Muhlenberg

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

October 7 is the feast day of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg in The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and The Lutheran Church–Canada.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (The Episcopal Church, 2016) lists William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayres on April 8.  However, since one of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences, I have merged the commemorations.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg became the Patriarch of American Lutheranism.  He, born at Einbeck, Saxony, on September 6, 1711, attended the University of Gottingen.  Then our saint taught in the orphanage at Halle for 15 months.  He wanted to become a missionary to India, but became a pastor in Grosshennersdorf, Saxony, instead.  In September 1741 Muhlenberg visited Halle.  Soon thereafter he was en route to America, sent there by pastor August Herman Francke, who had also sent other missionaries to the New World.

Lutheranism was in a sorry state in America.  There was little organization above the parish level, liturgies varied widely, there were no firm standards for become an ordained minister, and adjacent Lutheran churches frequently had little to do with each other.  In 1741 Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a Saxon Lutheran layman and Moravian bishop, was visiting America.  While in Pennsylvania, he functioned as a Lutheran pastor at Philadelphia, creating a controversy in the church there.

Muhlenberg had a difficult set of tasks to complete.  His motto was Ecclesia Plantanda, or

The Church Must Be Planted.

Our saint arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1742.  Then he spent a week with the Jerusalem Lutheran Church at Ebenzezer, Georgia.  Muhlenberg arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 25, 1742.  Within a month he had ousted Zinzendorf from the pulpit.  On December 27, 1742, Muhlenberg became the pastor of several congregations.  He went on, within a year, to found a school per congregation and to found new churches.

During the following decades Muhlenberg planted and organized the church.  He founded new congregations, fostered unity among them, and established standards for ordination.  On August 26, 1748, at St. Michael’s Church, Philadelphia, ministers from 10 of the 70 Lutheran congregations in North America formed “The United Preachers of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of German Nationality in These American Colonies, Especially Pennsylvania,” the first synod.  In 1781, with the adoption of a constitution, the synod became the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium in North America.  The ministerium gave rise to other synods, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium in the State of New-York and Adjacent States and Countries (1786), led by John Christopher Kunze, Muhlenberg’s son-in-law.  The original synod became the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States in 1792.

Muhlenberg did much to build up the Ministerium in North America/of Pennsylvania.  He traveled from the northeast to Georgia.  In 1751 and 1752 he spent much time in New York City, where the dispute over what the proper language for worship should be had created divisions.  Our saint, who prioritized the Gospel of Jesus Christ over languages, preached in English, Dutch, and German every Sunday for months.  Over the years he struggled with Lutheran disunity; many Lutheran ministers did not relate to Halle, as he did.  Our saint also prepared a hymnal late in life.

On the personal side, Muhlenberg married Anna Mary Weiser, daughter of Indian agent Conrad Weiser, in April 1745.  Three of their sons became Lutheran ministers.  Although our saint ranged from Loyalism to neutrality during the American Revolutionary period, two of his sons (both of them ministers) chose to fight under the command of George Washington.  Peter (in full, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, 1746-1807) went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with Frederick (in full, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, 1750-1801), the first Speaker of the House.

Our saint died at Trappe, Pennsylvania, on October 7, 1787.  He was 76 years old.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, first Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, had a son named Henry William Muhlenberg, who became a wine merchant in Philadelphia.  Henry William married Mary Sheefe.  The couple welcomed William Augustus Muhlenberg into the world on September 16, 1796.  He became a figure to rival his great-grandfather in terms of ecclesiastical importance.

William Augustus Muhlenberg, raised in a Lutheran home, became an influential Episcopal priest.  He studied at the University of Pennsylvania from 1812 to 1815, graduating as the English-language salutation.  His affinity for the English language, especially in worship, led him to join The Episcopal Church.  Such conversions were common at a time when German was the preferred language of worship in many Lutheran congregations, the leaders of which referred those who preferred to worship in English to Episcopal churches.  Muhlenberg became a priest, serving first as the assistant at Christ Church, Philadelphia, from 1817 to 1822.  (The rector of the parish was William White, also the Bishop and Pennsylvania and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.)  Then, for a few years, Muhlenberg was the Rector of St. James’s Church, Lancaster.  There he opened the first public school in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, our saint had published a case for singing hymns instead of the traditional metrical Psalms.  Thus he served on the committee for the Prayer Book Collection (1826), an early Episcopal hymnal.

In 1826 Muhlenberg relocated to New York.  He became the Rector of St. George’s Church, Flushing, Long Island.  There he founded the Flushing Institute (later St. Paul’s College), which made him nationally famous for his advocacy of progressive educational methods.  At St. George’s Church Muhlenberg was a pioneer in liturgical renewal.  His church had vested choirs, candles and flowers on the altar, and greenery at Christmas.  If that were not enough, the church sang Christmas carols.  This was groundbreaking in a culture in which much of the dominant Protestant ethos did not support celebrating Christmas.

Muhlenberg received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Columbia College, New York, New York, in 1834.

In 1845 Muhlenberg founded the Church of the Holy Communion in the City of New York.  The architect of the edifice (dedicated in 1846) was Richard Upjohn (1802-1878).  Muhlenberg’s sister, the wealthy widow Mary A. Rogers, financed the construction of the building and much of the parish’s budget for years.  This patronage enabled the church to minister to members of all social classes; that was a priority for the priest and his sister.  One of the novelties at the Church of the Holy Communion was free pews–no pew rentals.  Our saint was also a pioneer in the Sunday School movement; the parish schools reflected this fact.  The church also offered unemployment benefits, operated an employment agency, provided medical services, and offered English-language classes.  Furthermore, the liturgical life of the parish was more advanced than at other churches.  Communion services were weekly, Morning and Evening Prayer were daily, Holy Week was a priority, and the choirs there were the first vested choirs in the city.  Beyond that, the use of colors, flowers, and music to increase the beauty of worship was influential.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The parish dispensary became the genesis of St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City.  Muhlenberg served as the Superintendent and Chaplain there from 1858 to 1877.  He and Anne Ayres, a member of his congregation, founded the institution.

Ayres, born in London, England, on January 3, 1816, arrived in New York City in 1836.  For a few years she tutored children of the wealthy, but Muhlenberg’s influence prompted her to change the direction of her life.  In 1845 she and Muhlenberg founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, dedicated to providing social services.  For many years members of the Sisterhood performed most of the nursing duties at St. Luke’s Hospital.  The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion was the first Anglican order for women founded in North America.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Muhlenberg was an ecumenist.  In 1853 he presented a proposal before the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Our saint, convinced that the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer (1789) were too rigid, proposed Articles of Union with Protestant bodies in a confederation, complete with Apostolic Succession.  The requirements were:

  1. The Apostles’ Creed;
  2. Ordination not repugnant to the Word of God;
  3. Common hymns, prayers, and Biblical readings; and
  4. A council on common affairs.

This proposal, the natural successor to The Evangelical Catholic (1851-1853), Muhlenberg’s monthly journal, went down in failure.  It did, however, influence the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886, 1888):

  1. The Old and New Testaments as scripture,
  2. The Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds,
  3. The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, and
  4. Apostolic Succession.

In 1868 Muhlenberg served on a committee to discuss revising The Book of Common Prayer (1789).  Revision had to wait, however; the next edition debuted in 1892.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Muhlenberg, who wrote hymns, chose to remain unmarried, so that he could have more time for ministry.  His theology was something science did not threaten; he did not oppose Evolution.  His priorities in ministry reflected his proto-Social Gospel ethos.  Among his final projects (with Anne Ayres) was St. Johnland, an intentional community for members of the working class on Long Island, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City.  There were family homes, group homes, businesses, a library, a church, et cetera.  Muhlenberg helped to finance St. Johnland.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Muhlenberg died in New York City on April 8, 1877.  He was 80 years old.

Anne Ayres died in New York City on February 9, 1896.  She was 80 years old.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Ministeriums of Pennnsylvania and New York survived into the 1960s, when they, as part of The United Lutheran Church in America, merged into the Lutheran Church in America, a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s dream of a common liturgy for North American Lutherans has never become a reality.  The closest it came to reality was the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), which, by the way, borrowed heavily from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), in development at the same time.

The Church of the Holy Communion closed in 1975 and merged with Calvary Episcopal Church and St. George’s Episcopal Church.  Since then the edifice has housed a series of establishments, including two night clubs (one of them notorious), an upscale store, and a gymnasium.

The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion ceased to exist in 1940.

St. Luke’s Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital merged in 1979.

St. Johnland survives as a nursing center.

Flowers and altar candles remain familiar sites in Episcopal hymnals.

The Episcopal Church has made the transition from metrical Psalms to hymns.

The Episcopal Church has entered into full communion agreements with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Moravian Church in America.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres did much to glorify God, build up the church, and benefit many people.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, POPE

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of Justus Falckner (September 22)   1 comment

Gloria Dei Church, 1850

Above:  Gloria Dei Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1850

Photographer = Frederick De Bourg Richards

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-39946

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JUSTUS FALCKNER (NOVEMBER 22, 1672-SEPTEMBER 21, 1723)

Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) commemorate the lives of William Passavant (1821-1894; feast day in The Episcopal Church = January 3), Justus Falckner, and Jehu Jones (1786-1852). pioneering Lutheran ministers in North America, on November 24, the anniversary of the ordination of Falckner in 1703. On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, each man receives his own feast day.

Falckner, born at Crimmitschau, Saxony, on November 22, 1672, was the fourth son of Daniel Falckner (Sr.), a Lutheran pastor, and a brother of Daniel Falckner (Jr.).  [Aside:  The tradition of naming a son after the father without adding a suffix, especially common in Germany and England, is really annoying to many historians and genealogists.  To know which Johannes Doe one is reading about is really helpful.  Sometimes it is relatively easy, but on other occasions it is impossible.]  Our saint, who began his studies at the University of Halle, with the intention of becoming a pastor, felt inadequate for that goal by the time he graduated.  Instead he became a lawyer and a land agent like his brother, Daniel Jr.  In 1700, at Rotterdam, the Falckner brothers acquired the power of attorney for the sale of William Penn‘s lands in Pennsylvania.  The following year the Reverend Andreas Rudman (1668-1708), a pioneering Swedish minister in what became the United States, purchased 10,000 acres along Manatawny Creek for Swedish Lutherans.  The connection with Rudman helped to convince the Falckner brothers to serve as clergymen in North America.  On November 24, 1724, 1703, at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Justus Falckner became the first Lutheran minister ordained in North America.  The service was the first recorded instance of the use of an organ at a worship service in what became the United States.

Our saint served as many as 14 congregations spread out over a territory of 200 miles at one time during nearly 20 years of ordained ministry.  His first assignment was a Dutch congregation near New Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Later he succeeded Rudman (who returned to Sweden) at New York City.  Fortunately, Rudman left the congregation in good condition.  Falckner also served at Albany, where the congregation was in dire shape; he had to start “from scratch” there.  In 1719, after the death of Pastor Joshua Kocherthal, our saint assumed responsibility for the congregations in the Hudson River valley.

Meanwhile, if all that were not enough, Falckner would have been a busy man even without those responsibilities.  In 1704 he published the first Lutheran catechism in North America.  Over the years he lobbied for the use of organs in Lutheran churches in the Delaware River valley.  He succeeded.  And, in 1717, our saint married Gerritje Hardick, with whom he had three children (in 1718, 1720, and 1723).

Falckner died at Newburgh, New York, on September 21, 1723.  He, aged 51 years, had damaged his health via his work load.   Daniel Jr., a pastor in New Jersey since 1708, added the Hudson River valley congregations to his responsibilities, starting that year.

Our saint seems to have written at least two hymns (both from 1697, during his college years) extant in English-language translations.  “Rise, Ye Children of Salvation,” in English since 1858, courtesy of Emma Frances Bevan, is plainly by Falckner.  I am less (yet reasonably) certain about “If Our All on Christ We Venture,” which old North American Moravian hymnals attribute in the original German to Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760).  Both Zinzendorf and Falckner wrote in German, I know.  I also know that some old Moravian hymnals mistakenly attributed certain German hymns to the Count.

Falckner was indeed a pioneer of the faith in North America, and thereby worthy of much respect.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Justus Falckner,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following their examples and the teaching of their holy lives,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Philipp Heinrich Molther (December 31)   Leave a comment

Bedford Bridge 1783

Above:  Bedford Bridge, 1783, by Francis Grose

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PHILIPP HEINRICH MOLTHER (DECEMBER 28, 1714-SEPTEMBER 9, 1780)

German Moravian Minister, Bishop, Composer, and Hymn Translator

Philipp Heinrich Molther (1714-1780) was a multi-talented man who glorified God and improved the life of his communities of faith.  Our saint, a graduate of the University of Jena, taught French to Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf (1727-1752), son of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), on whose estate the underground Unity of the Brethren became the Renewed Moravian Church.  Our saint, a member of the Moravian Church since 1738, also translated many hymns into French and composed several cantatas, including one for the laying of the Single Brothers House (1738) at Herrnhaag, a settlement the Unitas Fratrum closed in the early 1750s.

Molther spent much time (1739-1740, 1741, and 1766-1780) in England.  He a minister, helped to start Moravian Church work in the British Isles.  Prior to his final stint in England our saint served as a pastor at Montmirial, Switzerland, then at Dublin, Ireland.  At Bedford, England, where Molther served from 1766 to 1780, he had the distinction of being one of the most gifted Moravian Church musicians in the country at the time.  Our saint, a bishop since 1775, died at Bedford on September 9, 1780.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 4, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEISLER AND JOHANN CHRISTIAN GEISLER, SILESIAN MORAVIAN ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS; AND JOHANNES HERBST, GERMAN-AMERICAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND BISHOP

THE FEAST OF FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS CARACCIOLO, COFOUNDER OF THE MINOR CLERKS REGULAR

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN XXIII, BISHOP OF ROME

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Philipp Heinrich Molther,

who made the good news known in the British Isles.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Christian David (October 13)   2 comments

Herrnhut 1765

Above:  Herrnhut in 1765

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LAST ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CHRISTIAN DAVID (DECEMBER 31, 1690-FEBRUARY 3, 1751)

Moravian Missionary

Christian David (1690-1751) was a foundational figure in the Renewed Moravian Church.  The native of Senftleben, Moravia, was, like St. Simon Peter, impetuous, and usually a force for good.

Our saint, originally a Roman Catholic then a Lutheran, became a driving force in the Renewed Moravian Church.  He met Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) in Dresden in 1722.  David recruited nine people and spearheaded the founding of Herrnhut that year.  He even built the first house in the settlement on the Count’s estate.  David recruited settlers for the rapidly growing community.  Among his recruits were David “Father” Nitschmann, Sr. (1676-1758), and family.  Efforts to recruit settlers from Moravia attracted hostile attention from Austrian authorities, who feared that they might constitute an attempt to foment rebellion.

In the 1720s our saint was a paradox, for he was simultaneously a force for building the community and detracting from it.  On one hand he recruited settlers and taught David Nitschmann (1696-1772), who became the first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church in 1735, carpentry.  On the other hand, our saint frequently neglected his assigned duties of visiting the sick to focus on evangelism instead.  This reality had the effect of also depriving the community of his skills as a carpenter.  Finally, on May 12, 1727, the new constitution of Herrnhut made clear that seeking the common good was an essential value of the settlement.  Our saint agreed to this.  He became one of the first four elders of the Renewed Moravian Church eight days later.  He resigned his eldership the following year, for he had supported a failed proposal to abandon the discipline of Herrnhut and to merge with the Lutheran parish church at Berthelsdorf.

Our saint was an active missionary.  He and Melchior Nitschmann (1702-1729) were evangelizing in Hungary on August 13, 1727, the date of the Moravian Pentecost at Herrnhut.  The following year our saint and the future first bishop, David Nitschmann (1696-1772), undertook missionary work in Austria.  Our saint and one Timothy Fiedler conducted the first Moravian Church missionary journey in the Baltic provinces in 1729.  Then, from 1733 to 1736, our saint and the Stach cousins (Matthew and Christian) evangelized in Greenland.  They started the Moravian mission there.

Our saint served God ably via the Moravian Church in various ways.  He wrote at least ten hymns.  He also assisted in establishing new settlements in Europe.  Our saint also encouraged Count Zinzendorf to correct the excesses of the “sifting time” (1743-1750) before the Count heeded the advice.

Our saint died at Herrnhut on February 3, 1751.

Here ends the process of adding twelve saints to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via four posts.  That seemed more sensible and less confusing than doing so in one.  These twelve saints were bold in their lived faith.  They were imperfect, but what else should one expect from mere mortals?  They also did much for the glory of God.  What else should one expect from mere mortals?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Christian David,

who made the good news known in Hungary, Austria, the Baltic provinces, and Greenland.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love,

and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Dober (October 12)   4 comments

Dober

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THIRD ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

MARTIN DOBER (NOVEMBER 23, 1703-DECEMBER 9, 1748)

Moravian Bishop and Hymn Writer

brother of

JOHANN LEONHARD DOBER (1706-1766)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

husband of

ANNA SCHINDLER DOBER (APRIL 9, 1713-DECEMBER 12, 1739)

Moravian Missionary and Hymn Writer

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Two brothers emigrated to Herrnhut in 1725.  Martin and Johann Leonhard (whose name some sources Anglicize as Leonard) Dober were potters from Monchsroth, Swabia.  They were far more than skilled potters; the Renewed Moravian Church provided them opportunities to manifest other abilities in the service of God.

Martin Dober (1703-1748) spent much time at Herrnhut.  For at least part of his time there he led morning worship at 5:00 then went to work in his pottery shop.  Martin became a trusted assistant of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) and a teacher at Herrnhut.  Dober became a bishop in 1744, led the Moravian communities in Britain and Ireland in 1744 and 1745, and ended his days at Herrnhaag.  He also wrote hymns, such as “Jesus, Saviour, I Implore Thee.”  The Index of Authors and Translators in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) (1923) described him as:

highly gifted in original languages and in the cure of souls.

–Page 674

Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766), or Leonard Dober, as some sources refer to him, was a giant in the early decades of the Renewed Moravian Church.  From 1732 to 1734 he served as a missionary in the West Indies.  David Nitschmann (1696-1772) traveled with him to St. Thomas and spent sixteen weeks helping him get started.  Dober labored faithfully in the West Indies, but without much success.  In late 1734 he left for Herrnhut to answer the summons to succeed the late Martin Linner as Chief Elder of the denomination.  Dober had, years earlier, assisted Linner, then the leader of the Single Brothers’ Choir at Herrnhut.  (A choir was a communal group.)

Dober’s successor at St. Thomas was Friedrich Martin (1704-1750), who succeeded, leaving 1,600 baptized people at the time of his death.  He, a bishop from 1748, survived legal obstacles, such as imprisonment for refusing to swear an oath in court and to pay the accompanying fine.  His widow, Maria Barbara Leinbach (1722-1810), married David Nitschmann (1696-1772) in 1754.

Anna Schindler (1713-1739), a native of Kunewald, Moravia, helped Anna Nitschmann (1715-1760) found the Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut in 1730, having lived at the settlement since 1725.  Anna Schindler married Johann Leonhard Dober on July 13, 1737.  He had been the Chief Elder of the Renewed Moravian Church for two years.  In 1738 he and his wife started evangelizing in Amsterdam.  She died at Marienborn, Saxony, on December 12, 1739, a few months short of her twenty-seventh birthday.

Anna wrote at least eighteen hymns, including “Lamb of God, Who Thee Receive” (1735) and “O What Depth of Love and Boundless Grace” (1737).  The translation of the latter hymn from the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969) follows:

O what a depth of love and boundless grace

The gospel light to sinful man displays,

When Christ Himself to us doth manifest,

And we in Him find comfort, peace, and rest!

+++++

When in the soul this blessed truth resounds,

That Christ’s death, for sinners life abounds,

O how doth this fresh the fainting heart,

And bid all anxious doubts and fears depart.

+++++

For sinners without merit of their own

Which could the burden of great guilt atone,

Who no escape from penalty can see,

For such the Lamb of God died on the tree.

+++++

From Him there goes forth virtue, that we may

With confidence to God the Father pray.

And then we shall ourselves to all proclaim

The heirs of God through faith in Jesus’ Name.

Johann Leonhard Dober resigned as Chief Elder at the Synod of 1741.  The job of leading the Moravian Church was too much for one person, he said.  There were also concerns that the Chief Eldership might turn into a Moravian version of the Papacy.  The decision that Jesus Christ would become the Chief Elder of the Moravian Church occurred on September 16, 1741.  The formal announcement of this fact on November 13 of that year has become a commemorated event, the Festival of Christ the Chief Elder.  The General Conference, a three-member committee, became the decision-making body.  Dober did not belong to it.

Dober, a bishop since 1747, traveled widely on church business.  For example, in 1749, when the Church was cleaning up the mess of the “Sifting Time” (1743-1750), centered at Herrnhaag, Dober and Bishop David Nitschmann (1696-1772) visited European Moravian communities as part of the effort.  During his labors Dober also wrote at least twelve hymns, none of which North American Moravian hymnals since 1923 have contained.

Dober died at Herrnhut in 1766.

Here ends the third installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND SAINTS OTGER OF OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Martin Dober, Johann Leonhard Dober, and Anna Schindler Dober,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Johann Nitschmann, Sr., David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr (October 10)   1 comment

Nitschmann-Van Vleck

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SECOND ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JOHANN (OR JOHN) NITSCHMANN, SR. (1703-MAY 6, 1772)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

++++++++++++++++++++++

DAVID NITSCHMANN, JR., THE SYNDIC (SEPTEMBER 20, 1703-MARCH 28, 1779)

Moravian Bishop and Missionary

++++++++++++++++++++++

DAVID NITSCHMANN, THE MARTYR (DIED APRIL 15, 1729)

Moravian Missionary and Martyr

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The process of researching the Nitschmanns led me through a number of contradictory sources.  I paid close attention to minor details to determine relationships.  There were, for example, four David Nitschmanns (two of whom became bishops) and two Johann (or John) Nitschmanns (both of whom became bishops).  I am not surprised, therefore, that some writers whose work I consulted confused one Johann (or John) Nitschmann with another.  They were contemporaries (one born in 1703 and the other in 1712), after all.  Also, I am aware that, in the age of the Internet, I can gain easy access to more information easily from home than was possible with more effort not long ago.  Even with that ease of access to information I became confused along the way, until I checked details (such as birthplaces and geographical locations of certain people in specific years) again and again.  I admit the possibility that I have made some mistakes or at least arrived at some inaccurate determinations (given the material available to me as well as human imperfection), but I have tried to be as accurate as possible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I was able to draw a family tree for the saints I covered in the previous post.  In this post I cover three other Nitschmanns who were also foundational figures in the Renewed Moravian Church.  At least one of them was a distant cousin of the first five Nitschmanns of whom I wrote.  As for the other two Nitschmanns in this post, I do not know, for my searches yielded no such information.

Some of my sources confused the two Johann (or John) Nitschmanns, who were contemporaries and bishops about nine years apart in age.  I have, however, to the best of my knowledge, been able to distinguish one from the other based on details, such as geographical locations in specific years and birthplaces of children.  The previous post contains a summary of the life of Johann Nitschmann, Jr. (1712-1783).  Now Johann Nitschmann, Sr. (1703-1772), gets his turn.

Johann Nitschmann, Sr., was a prominent figure in the early life of the Renewed Moravian Church.  He came from a family of the Bohemian Brethren/Ancient Unity and emigrated to Herrnhut in 1725.  He became a trusted aide to Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), accompanying the Count on a “witness journey” through Switzerland and southern Germany in 1731.  Nitschmann traveled as far as Freiberg, Saxony.  Three years later Nitschmann married Juliana Haberland (1712-1751), one of the original members of thee Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut.  Anna Nitschmann (1713-1760) and Anna Schindler (later Dober) (1713-1739) had founded the Choir in 1730, and the former led it.  (A choir was a communal group.)  Johann and Juliana had a son, Immanuel (1736), who married into the Van Vleck family, which became prominent in the Moravian Church, supplying ministers, bishops, musicians, and composers.  Count Zinzendorf trusted Johann Nitschmann, Sr., so much that he assigned him to supervise young Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf, a student a Jena.  Nitschmann’s other duties involved evangelism in Jena.

David Nitschmann (1696-1772) was a pioneer at Herrnhut.  In fact, three young David Nitschmanns were pioneers at Herrnhut.  A second David Nitschmann who arrived at Herrnhut 1724 was traveling through Austria in 1729 when authorities arrested him.  He died in prison on Good Friday, April 15, 1729.  Moravian Church records refer to him as David Nitschmann, the Martyr.  A third David Nitschmann, who also settled at Herrnhut in 1724, was David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic (1703-1779).  The native of Zauchtenthal , Moravia, was a weaver by trade and a distant cousin of the five Nitschmanns of whom I wrote in the previous post.  David, Jr., was “the Syndic” because his duties included conducting negotiations on behalf of the Renewed Moravian Church.  His first wife, Anna Helena Anders, died in 1734.  Eventually he married a second time, to Rosina Fischer.  The Syndic served as one half of a missionary team to Ceylon from 1739 to 1741.  The other half of that team was a physician, one Dr. Eller.  The two had to return to Herrnhut in 1741 because certain Dutch Reformed clergymen, hostile to the Moravian missionaries, interfered with the mission station.

1741 was an eventful year for the Renewed Moravian Church.  Polycarp Muller and Johann Nitschmann, Sr., became the third and fourth bishops, respectively.  (The David Nitschmann who lived from 1696 to 1772 had become the first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church in 1735.  Count Zinzendorf had become the second bishop two years later.)  In September 1741 Chief Elder Johann Leonhard Dober (1706-1766) resigned.  The job of leading the Renewed Moravian Church was too much for one person, he said.  There were also concerns that the Chief Eldership might turn into a Moravian Papacy.  The decision of the Synod of 1741 was that Jesus Christ would serve as the Chief Elder and that a three-member committee, the General Conference, would make decisions for the Church.  Two of the original members were the newest bishops.  The third original member was Friedrich von Watteville, who became the fifth bishop in 1743.

The Syndic, a bishop since 1746, served God via the Moravian Church until the end.  The Synod of 1764 reorganized church government, creating three committees:

  1. the Directory, which provided general oversight;
  2. the Board of Syndics, which handled diplomacy and constitutional affairs; and
  3. the Board of Wardens, which handled finances.

The Syndic served, not surprisingly, on the Board of Syndics.  He also traveled widely on official business.  The Syndic died at Zeist, The Netherlands, on March 28, 1779.

Johann Nitschmann, Sr., also continued to serve, sometimes more effectively than others.  From 1749 to 1751 he was the presiding bishop in America.  At that time Nitschmann was, unfortunately, stubborn and strict in his interpretation of his orders from the Directory.  The economy at Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania, suffered as a result.  Before he left America Juliana died on February 22, 1751.  The widower bishop returned to Herrnhut, where he became the pastor.  He died at Zeist, The Netherlands, on May 6, 1772.

These saints served God the best way they knew, devoting their lives to the Almighty.  One died because of that dedication.  They were, for all their human flaws, devout and excellent servants of God.

Here ends the second installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

Johann Nitschmann, Sr.; David Nitschmann, Jr., the Syndic; and David Nitschmann, the Martyr;

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of David Nitschmann, Sr.; Melchior Nitschmann; Johann Nitschmann, Jr.; Anna Nitschmann; and David Nitschmann (October 5)   6 comments

Nitschmann

Chart and Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FIRST ENTRY IN A SERIES OF FOUR POSTS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR. (SEPTEMBER 18, 1676-APRIL 14, 1758)

“Father Nitschman;” Moravian Missionary

father of 

MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN (1702-FEBRUARY 27, 1729)

Moravian Missionary and Martyr

brother of

JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR. (SEPTEMBER 25, 1712-JUNE 30, 1783)

Moravian Missionary and Bishop

brother of

ANNA CARITAS NITSCHMANN (NOVEMBER 24, 1715-MAY 21, 1760)

Moravian Eldress

cousin of

DAVID NITSCHMANN (DECEMBER 18, 1696-OCTOBER 5, 1772)

Missionary and First Bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The process of researching the Nitschmanns led me through a number of contradictory sources.  I paid close attention to minor details to determine relationships.  There were, for example, four David Nitschmanns (two of whom became bishops) and two Johann (or John) Nitschmanns (both of whom became bishops).  I am not surprised, therefore, that some writers whose work I consulted confused one Johann (or John) Nitschmann with another.  They were contemporaries (one born in 1703 and the other in 1712), after all.  Also, I am aware that, in the age of the Internet, I can gain easy access to more information easily from home than was possible with more effort not long ago.  Even with that ease of access to information I became confused along the way, until I checked details (such as birthplaces and geographical locations of certain people in specific years) again and again.  I admit the possibility that I have made some mistakes or at least arrived at some inaccurate determinations (given the material available to me as well as human imperfection), but I have tried to be as accurate as possible.

I am aware that following the proverbial bouncing ball can prove challenging, so I have repeated certain details, such as lifespans and relationships frequently.  I have reduced the bouncing-ball factor by breaking up one post into four, for the benefit of clarity.

Shall we begin, O reader?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Nitschmann family belonged to the underground Bohemian Brethren, or the “Hidden Seed.”  The Moravian Church/Bohemian Brethren/Unitas Fratrum/Unity of the Brethren/Ancient Unity, with March 1, 1457, as its official date of founding, had gone underground in 1620, early in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  The diaspora spread out across Europe, meeting in homes at a time when the union of church and state was normative and religious toleration was not.

David Nitschmann, Sr. (1676-1758), or “Father Nitschmann,” was a leader of the “Hidden Seed.”  He, like his father, hosted a house church.  This saint was, by trade, a carpenter, a wheelwright, and a sometime farmer.  The native of Zauchtenthal, Moravia, married Anna Schneider in 1700.  The family moved to Kunewald, Moravia, in 1704.  There the large house church (as many as 200 people sometimes) attracted the hostile attention of local authorities, who forbade such continued gatherings.  David, Sr., and his son, Melchior (1702-1729), committed civil disobedience and went to prison repeatedly.

At this point in the narrative David Nitschmann (1696-1772), son of Georg Nitschmann (born 1662), brother of David, Sr., enters the story.

Nephew David Nitschmann (1696-1772), also a native of Zauchtenthal, Moravia, visited uncle David, Sr., and family in 1725, for the purpose of convincing the uncle to relocate the family to Herrnhut, the new (since 1722) Moravian Church settlement on the estate of Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760) in Saxony.  The nephew succeeded.  David, Sr., and his family left for Herrnhut, stayed a week, then relocated to nearby Berthelsdorf.  They returned to Herrnhut two years later.

The three children of David Nitschmann, Sr., and Anna Schneider Nitschmann of whom I write in this post were:

  1. Melchior (1702-1729);
  2. Johann (or John), Jr. (1712-1783); and
  3. Anna Caritas (1715-1760).

Melchior Nitschmann (1702-1729), a weaver by trade, had, with his father, led a house church of the Bohemian Brethren/Ancient Unity.  Melchior became on the first four elders of the Renewed Moravian Church at Herrnhut on May 12, 1727.  Another elder was Christian David (1690-1751).  These two elders were away on a mission trip to Hungary on August 13, 1727, the Moravian Pentecost, at Herrnhut.  The following year Melchior and one George Schmidt were missionaries in Moravia when Austrian officials detained them.  Melchior died in Schmidt’s arms on February 27, 1729, in a prison at Schildberg, Moravia.  Schmidt remained incarcerated for five more years.  He, a free man again, continued as a missionary.

Anna Caritas Nitschmann (1715-1760) found her niche in the Renewed Moravian Church, which was more egalitarian than the surrounding culture.  Gender roles were not entirely irrelevant in the Renewed Moravian Church in the 1700s, but they were less stringent than elsewhere at the time.  The basis of leadership in the Church was ability, not social status.  Thus the fourteen-year-old Anna became an eldress in March 1730.  On May 4 of that year she and the seventeen-year-old Anna Schindler (later Dober) (1713-1739) founded the Single Sisters’ Choir at Herrnhut, with Anna as the leader.  (A choir was a communal group.)

Johann (or John) Nitschmann, Jr. (1712-1783), later a bishop, emigrated to Herrnhut with his family.  He studied theology at Halle from 1728 to 1731.  In 1731 he became a tutor at the orphanage at Herrnhut.  Then, in 1732 and 1733, he studied medicine at Halle.   Johann, Jr., returned to Herrnhut, serving as Count Zinzendorf’s private secretary in 1733 and 1734.  Then, from 1734 to 1745, Johann, Jr., engaged in missionary work in Lapland.

David “Father” Nitschmann, Sr. (1676-1758), had skills the nascent Renewed Moravian Church needed.  His carpentry skills proved essential in building up Herrnhut, for example.  He also served as a missionary to the West Indies in the 1730s.  His wife, Anna Schneider Nitschmann, died on the island of St. Croix on June 30, 1735.  He returned to Herrnhut in 1737, remained for fourteen months, and shortly thereafter left for Pennsylvania.  He cut down the first tree at the site of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1741.  He did much to build and supervise the building of that settlement, where he spent the rest of this life.  Father Nitschmann died on April 14, 1758.

Nephew David Nitschmann (1696-1772) was also a foundational figure in the Renewed Moravian Church.  He was one of the pioneers of Herrnhut.  There Christian David (1690-1751) taught him carpentry.  In late 1727 the two men served as missionaries to Austria.  In 1732 Nitschmann accompanied Johann Leondard Dober (1706-1766) to St. Thomas, in the West Indies, to help Dober start missionary work there.  Nitschmann departed for other duties after sixteen weeks; Dober remained for about two years until the Church recalled him to Herrnhut to become the Chief Elder.

David Nitschmann (1696-1772) traveled widely.  He started a Moravian community in Holstein in 1734.  On March 13, 1735, in Berlin, Daniel Ernst Jablonski, a grandson of John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) who had become a bishop of the Bohemian Brethren/Ancient Unity in 1699, ordained Nitschmann the first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church.  The new bishop traveled widely in North America (including in Georgia) in 1735 and 1736 then returned to Germany in 1736.  The following year, in Berlin, he and Jablonski ordained Count Zinzendorf the second bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church.  In 1737 and 1738 Nitschmann helped to found the ill-fated Herrnhaag settlement in Saxony.  At Herrnhaag the excesses of the “Sifting Time” (1743-1750) were the most extreme and in the worst taste.  And, in 1740 and 1741, he helped to found Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which his uncle, David, Sr., did much to construct.

Anna Nitschmann (1715-1760) became an authority in the Moravian Church.  From 1735 to 1737 she accompanied Benigna, Count Zinzendorf’s daughter, to England.  In 1740 Anna and her father, David, Sr., traveled to Pennsylvania ahead of Count Zinzendorf.  There she wrote authoritatively to people regarding church matters and even preached.  In 1740 she preached to men and women at a Quaker meeting-house.  She preached to a group of Indian women the following year.  Anna was not unique, for there were many women preaching in the Moravian Church.  This fact prompted much criticism from Lutheran and Reformed Church circles at the time.

Herrnhaag 1750

Above:  Herrnhaag in 1750

Image in the Public Domain

Count Zinzendorf returned to Europe from America dissatisfied with strong criticisms of the Moravian Church from Lutheran and Reformed competitors.  He concluded that such attacks were examples of legalism.  So, unfortunately, the Count looked the other way for a few years as the Moravian emphases on the wounds of Christ and on familiarity with God, not to mention an exalted opinion of sexuality, mixed with excessive emotionalism and became simultaneously childish and NSFW, especially at Herrnhaag.  Erotic imagery mixed with the wounds of Christ, gender roles blended in violation of sexual orientation (admittedly an anachronistic category for the timeframe), and Moravian simplicity gave way to as many as forty lavish festivals each year.  Excesses of this “Sifting Time” (1743-1750) radiated from Herrnhaag, becoming the cause of scandal.  Eventually the Count, acknowledging his accountability for the state of affairs, heeded the counsel of advisors, such a Christian David (1690-1751), and clamped down on excesses.  Herrnhaag closed in 1753.

Johann Nitschmann, Jr. (1712-1783), continued to serve in the Moravian Church.  He returned from eleven years of missionary service in 1745.  From 1745 to 1750 he was deacon at Herrnhaag.  Then, from 1750 to 1758, he was deacon at Herrnhut.  In 1758 Nitschmann became the twenty-first bishop of the Renewed Moravian Church.  Four years later he received the responsibility of oversight of the communities in England and Ireland.  Then, in 1766, he became the leader of the community at Sarepta, Russia.  There he died on June 30, 1783.  Along the way he had written hymns.

Anna Nitschmann (1715-1760) remained single until her forty-first year of life.  She traveled as part of Count Zinzendorf’s entourage on trips to England (1743) and Russia (1743 and 1744).  Erdmuth Dorothea von Zinzendorf, the Countess died in 1756.  The Count observed a mourning period of a year;  then he remarried.  He and Anna became husband and wife in June 1757.  He was a nobleman and she was a peasant.  Such distinctions were irrelevant in the relatively egalitarian culture of the Moravian Church, however.  Count Zinzendorf died on May 9, 1760.  Anna succumbed (perhaps to cancer) twelve days later.  During her lifetime she had also written hymns.

David Nitschmann (1696-1772) remained in service to God via the Moravian Church for the rest of his life.  He returned to St. Thomas in 1742.  The bishop, en route to Europe in 1745, became a prisoner of the Spanish.  Once free, he traveled in Denmark, Norway, and Silesia.  He returned to Pennsylvania in 1748.  Then the bishop served at Herrnhaag from 1749 to 1753 as part of the clean-up operation there.  Rosina Schindler Nitschmann, whom he had married in 1726, died there in 1753.  The following year the bishop returned to Pennsylvania, where he remained.  He married Maria Barbara Leinbach (1722-1810), widow of missionary and bishop Friedrich Martin (1704-1754), in 1754.  The new couple lived at Lititz, Pennsylvania, from 1756 to 1761.  There Maria gave birth to a daughter, Anna Maria Nitschmann (1758-1823), who married Christian Heckewelder, a merchant of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Hope, New Jersey.  Bishop Nitschmann and Maria resided at Bethlehem starting in 1761.  He died there in 1772.

Here ends the first installment of this series of posts.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of your servants

David Nitschmann, Sr.; Melchior Nitschmann; Johann Nitschmann, Jr.; Anna Caritas Nitschmann; and David Nitschmann;

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 724

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++