Moravian Church

A religious association formed near Kunwald, Bohemia, 1457, "to foster pure scriptural teaching and apostolic discipline." The Unitas Fratrom, Church of Brethren, or Unity of Brethren, known at the present time in England and America as the Moravian Church, was established, 1735. In 1734 the first Moravian missionary came to Pennsylvania, and an attempt was also made at missionary work in Georgia. An act of Parliament, 1749, recognized the Moravian Church as "an ancient Protestant Episcopal Church," giving it standing and privileges in all British dominions. During colonial times Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz, in Pennsylvania, and Salem, North Carolina, were organized as exclusive Moravian villages. Between 1844 and 1856 this exclusive system was abolished and the church organization was remodeled to suit modern conditions. Having no doctrine of its own, it is broadly evangelical, and in harmony with Protestants on the essentials of Christian teaching. The Moravian principle is "in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, and in all things, charity." Accepting the Apostles' Creed as formulating the prime articles of faith found in the Scriptures, it emphasizes the personal mediatorship of Jesus Christ as true God and true Man, in His life, sufferings, death, and resurrection. They practise infant baptism; and holy communion, which is celebrated about six times a year, is open to communicant members of other churches. The Moravian Church is a modified episcopacy in government. Foreign missionary work is carried on in North, Central, and South America, the West Indies, South Africa, Australia, the borders of Tibet, and among the lepers in Jerusalem. There are two other bodies: Evangelical Union of Bohemian and Moravian Brethren in North America, and Independent Bohemian and Moravian Brethren Churches.

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