Friday, August 7, 2009

Destination... Herrnhut

One of the places that my parents wanted to visit while they were here was a small village in Eastern Germany near the Czech border. This is where the Moravian church was founded, or Brethren Church, and many religious movements in the United States can be traced to the influence of one the founders, Count von Zinzendorf.

The church was beautiful, but not in the traditional sense of what one would expect from an old, European church ornately decorated with religious symbols and figures. It was white and simple without extravagant details... it just felt so pure.

We traveled to the next village where the estate of Zinzendorf had stood proudly years ago. Much of the estate was in ruins, but you could image the greatness of what it had been of it before the ugly finger of Communism had turned much of it into gray dust. A group from the church community had started efforts to restore the run down estate home.

Behind the village one could walk up the "Hill of Watching" to an observation tower that overlooked the city, and the view was fantastic. Despite the fog that had settled over the day, it was so peaceful and I imagine many would climb the tower steps to escape to a place of solitude and quiet.

Just down the hill from the tower, were the graves of many of the founding members of the Brethren church. In keeping with the simplicity of the church, the grave stones were also uniform and basic without ornate details, except for the Count and his family. For some reason, I did not feel an anxious need to go like I sometimes have at other graveyards. It was as if the peaceful atmosphere that you felt in the church also rested over the whole town.

Herrnhut is a small village and does not boast of fantastic, candy-for-the-eyes buildings and architecture, but sometimes it is the simple things, like an afternoon stroll soaking in the beauty of nature in a reflective mood that is more memorable than anything that man can create.

3 comments:

  1. Oh how pretty! I love that church! We really love hanging our Moravian star each Christmas - I never thought about visiting Herrnhut! Lovely!

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  2. I love the white church; you are correct, it does fell very pure, very true.

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