Who Are the Moravians?
History of the Moravian Church
The Moravian Church was founded in 1457 by followers of John Hus, a leader in the Bohemian reformation
movement within the Roman church. The location was the district of Moravia and Bohemia, now a part of
the Czech Republic. These districts had been converted to Christianity in the ninth century by the Greek
Church, but were then under the jurisdiction of Rome. Hus did not agree with the Church's policy of only
allowing priests to read the Bible or asking parishioners for money to grant dispensation. Hus left the
Church and began preaching in other denominations. The Church excommunicated Hus and then asked
him to meet with the Council to discuss his case. Instead of a discussion, they arrested him and then
burned him at the stake.
Many of John Hus's followers formed a church under the official name "Unitas Fratrum," that is, the Unity of the Brethren, making it one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world. By the start of Martin Luther's reformation in 1517, the Brethren constituted a church of over 400 parishes with at least 200,000 members. Severe persecution reduced the members to a remnant, but in 1722, a group from Moravia formed a colony in Saxony and henceforth the church was to be known as "Moravian." A strong commitment to a biblical faith and a zeal for mission work that came with the 18th-century renewal of the church, remain the hallmarks of the Moravian Church today.