Edmund Alexander De Schweinitz.

The history of the church known as the Unitas Fratrum, Or, The unity of the Brethren, founded by the followers of John Hus, The Bohemian reformer amd martyr online

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The Unitas Fratrum




Bishop of the Unitas Fratrum.









HE history of the Church founded in the fifteenth
century by followers of John Hus has excited, in
recent times, no little interest among Bohemian
scholars. This is owing, on the one hand, to the spirit of
inquiry roused by the abrogation of the Austrian censorship
of the press, and on the other, to the discovery of new and
important sources, especially the Lissa Folios. Such sources
have been examined by Dr. Franz Palacky, the late Histori-
ographer of Bohemia, by Professors Anton Gindely and
Jaroslav Goll, of the University of Prague, and by other
writers, all of whom have produced, in the German and
Bohemian languages, valuable works on the subject. The
majority of these historians are Roman Catholics, which
circumstance renders their labors the more remarkable.
No less important are the researches of Bernhard Czer-
wenka, a Protestant clergyman of the Austrian Duchy of
Steiermark, who has written a German History of the
Evangelical Church in Bohemia. Of writers connected
with the Moravian Church, Bishops Ernst William Croeger
and Henry Levin Reichel have used the newer sources ; but
their works are likewise in German. In order to find an
English History of the Bohemian Brethren, the reader was


obliged to fall back upon the brief and antiquated narratives
of Cranz, Bost and Holmes, written prior to the discovery of
the newest sources.

In the pages which follow I have attempted to supply
the existing want and to set forth, in an English History
based upon those sources, the faith, works and sufferings of
the Bohemian Brethren, as Reformers before the Reformation
and as the fathers of the Moravian Church.

My preparations for this History have been lectures which,
for nearly twenty years, I have been delivering in the Theo-
logical Seminary, at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Throughout
this period I have been studying the subject. I have en-
deavored to produce an authentic History in strict accord-
ance with the sources at my command. At the same time I
have not hesitated to express my own opinions, and to correct
what ajipeared to me to be wrong views, or unwarranted de-
ductions, on the part of other writers, especially of those who
are Roman Catholics.

The object which I have in view is, not only to make the
members of the Moravian Church familiar with the history
of their fathers and to set before the general reader a narra-
tive that will, I trust, be found interesting and profitable ;
but also to furnish a work of reference for scholars who may
wish to consult the authorities upon which the facts are
based. Hence I have furnished abundant references in the
foot-notes and a complete table of the literature relating to
the subject.

The various names that the sources give to the Church of
which I treat, I have used indiscriminately. All these names
— that is, The Unitas Fratrum, The Unity, The Bohemian
Brethren, The Brethren, and The Brethren's Church — were
recognized and acknowledged by that Church. The title by


which it is commonly known at the present day is, The
Moravian Church.

The orthography of the Bohemian and Polish proper
names varies greatly, according as they are used by d liferent
writers. It is owing to this circumstance that the same name
will occasionally be found, in the following pages, spelled
in different ways. When these discrepancies were discovered
it was too late to correct them.

As the chapters of my work were originally published
in the columns of the official journal of the American Mo-
ravian Church, it may be well to add, that before being
made up in book form they were thoroughly revised and
corrected, and that consequently the only History of the
Unitas Fratrum which I acknowledge as from my pen, is the
one contained in the volume herewith published.

The "Mai in Library of Moravian Literature," recently
presented to the Moravian Church by Mr. William Gunn
Malin, of Philadelphia, has afforded me such constant and
valuable aid that I can not forbear an expression of deep
gratitude for this magnificent gift. It is owing to the gen-
erosity of the same gentleman, that this volume is adorned
with so beautiful a frontispiece. This engraving is a reduced
copy of one by Wolff from the picture of Holbein, and the
fac-siraile which it exhibits of the handwriting of John Hus,
is taken from an official entry made by him in the year 1401,
as Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, in the records of the
University of Prague.

My sincere acknowledgments are due to Professor
Severin Einger, U. J. D., of the Lehigh University, at
Bethlehem, for the valuable aid which he gave me in trans-
lating important parts of the original Polish History of the
Brethren by Lukaszewicz, not found in the German version.


To the memoiy of mv late friend, Professor Theodore
Wolle, of the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies, at
Bethlehem, I reverently bring an affectionate tribute, for his
kindness in reading the proofs, the last of them when he
was already near to the shadow of the dark valley.

I send forth this History with the humble prayer, that it
may serve to promote the glory of Jesus Christ the Divine
Head of the Church Universal, which He has founded upon
Himself as the Rock of Ages and against which the gates of
hell shall not prevail.

If my life is spared, I propose, in the course of the next
few years, to issue, as a supplementary volume, the History
of the Renewed Unitas Fratrura, or Moravian Church.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, April 17, 1885.


The wish and the purpose expressed iu the closing para-
graph of the preface to the first edition of this History were
destined not to be fulfilled, for the distinguished author was
called to his eternal reward on December 18, 1887. But his
successor as Lecturer on Moravian Church History iu the
Moravian Theological Seminary at Bethlehem, Pa., the Rev.
J. Taylor Hamilton, has in efiect fulfilled this design by
publishing in 1900 an exhaustive History of the Moravian
Church during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This
publication has accentuated the desirability of publishing a
new edition of the History of the Moravian Church during
the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries by the late
Bishop Edmund de Schweiuitz, S. T. D., the more so as the
first edition has been totally exhausted.

Ever since its original publication, sixteen years ago, it has
been used as a text-book in the Moravian Theological Semi-
nary at Bethlehem, Pa. Although thus subjected to con-
stant scrutiny, now that opportunity for revision is offered, it
is found that no essential changes are desirable. The work
is generally recognized as the standard on the subject, and is,
in fact, the only one in the English language.

It has been felt, therefore, that it would be an historical
blunder, and almost a literary crime, to tamper in any way


with the finished and scholarly work of the deceased author.
Consequently, the present publication is a reprint, rather than
a new edition. Only a few typographical errors have been

A cordial expression of thanks is due Prof. J. Taylor
Hamilton for his careful examination of the work in view of
its possible revision, and for his assistance in preparing it for,
and seeing it through, the press.

This second edition is published by the son of the author,
Dr. George E. de Schweinitz, of Philadelphia, Pa., at the
suffffestion of the constituted authorities of the Moravian
Church in America, and the valuable service thus rendered
the Church is herewith most gratefully acknowledged.

In sending forth this second edition, the pious wish
expressed by the author in the preface to the first edition
may well be repeated. May this History promote the glory
of the great Head of the Church Universal, Jesus the Christ,
our adorable Saviour, and may it inspire all readers with a
spirit of unquestioning devotion, even unto death, to Him,
Who has redeemed them, even as so many, of whom this
History tells, laid down their lives because of their fidelity
to their Lord.

P. DE S.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, March 20, 1901.

literature relating to the
u:n"itas fratrum.

To adduce all the manuscripts and printed works relating,
directly or indirectly, to the Unitas Fratrum, would require a
separate volume. Those here presented, comprise the most im-
portant sources and upon them is based, as the foot-notes show,
the History which follows. In order to avoid, in these foot-notes,
the repetition of the titles in full, abbreviations have been used
which, in the subjoined list, appear in brackets.


1. [Scriptores Rerum Boh..] Scriptores Rerum Bohemicarum. Tom.I-

Pragse, 1783; Tom. II. 1784; Tom. III. 1829.

The first and second volumes contain the Jjatin Chronicle
of Cosmas, the father of Bohemian history ; the continuation
of this Chronicle ; the Chronicle of Franciscus ; and the
Chronicle of Benessius de Weitmil. The third volume com-
prises Annals in Bohemian.

2. [.^n. Syl.] ^Enese Sylvii De Bohemorum, et ex his Imperatorum

aliquot Origine ac Gestis. Basilea, Anno M.D. LXXV.

3. [Stransky.] Respublica Bohemise a M. Paulo Stranskii Descripta.

Lugd. Batavorum, Anno 1634.

The same work in German, corrected from a Romish point
of view, by Ignaz Cornova, Professor in the University of Prague,
and entitled : " Paul Stransky's Staat von Bohmen. Uebersetzt,
berichtigt und erganzt." Prag. 1792-1803.

Paul Stransky was a learned Professor of the University of
Prague ; according to Cornova, a member of the Church of the
Bohemian Brethren and "showing in this his religion a zeal
that degenerated into intolerance." In the Anti-Reformation
he was banished and wrote his work in exile. See pp. 468 and
469 of our History.



4. [Balbin.] Epitome Historica Rerum Boheinicarum. Authore Bo-
huslao Balbino 5 Societate Jesu. Pragae. Anno 1677.

5. [Palacky.] Geschichte von Bohmen. Grosstentheils nach Urkun-

den unci Handschriften. Von Franz Palacky. Erster Band ; Zweiter
Band, zwei Abtheilungen ; Dritter Band, drei Abtheilungen; vierter
Band, zwei Abtheilungen ; fiinfter Band, zwei Abtheilungen. Prag.

The Abtheilungen are published as volumes ; hence there are
ten volumes, and we cite accordingly, not according to the Ab-
theilungen. Palacky was a Protestant, a direct descendant of
the Bohemian Brethren, a pronounced Czech, and Bohemia's
most distinguished historiographer. His work must be regarded
as the highest authority on that part of Bohemian history of
which it treats, from about B. C. 388 to A. D. 1526.

6. [Schlesinger.] Geschichte Bohmens, von Dr. Ludwig Schlesinger.

Herausgegeben vom Vereine fiir Geschichte der Deutschen in Boh-
men. Prag. 1870.

Written from an ultra German point of view, as an offset to
Palacky's work.

7. [Pal. Boehm Geschicht.] Wiirdigung der alten Bohmischen Ge-

schichtschreiber, von Franz Palacky. Prag. 1869.

8. [Pelzel.] Franz Martin Pelzel's Geschichte von Bohmen, von den

altesten bis auf die neuesten Zeiten. Vierte fortgesetzte Auflage.
2 Bde. Prag. 1817.

9. [Illust. Chronik.] lUustriste Chronik von Bohmen. Ein geschicht-

liches Nationalwerk. Herausgegeben von einem Vereine vater-
liindischer Gelerheteu und Kiinstler. 2 Bde. Prag. 1852-1854.


10. [Gindely's30-jaehr. Krieg.] Geschichte des dreissigiiihrigen Krieges

von Anton Gindely. Prag. 1869-1880.

Four volumes have been published which bring the history
of the Thirty Years' War to 1623. An abbreviated popular
edition in three volumes has appeared, and been translated into
English by Andrew Ten Brooks. New York, G. P. Putnam's
Sons. '

11. [Gindely's Rudolf.] Eudolf II. und seine Zeit. 1600-1612. Von

Anton Gindely. 2 Bde. in one. Prag. 1868.

12. [Gindely's Majestaetsbrief.] Geschichte der Ertheilung des Bo-

heraischen Majestatsbriefes von 1609. Von Dr. Anton Gindely.
Prag. 1868.

This is substantially a reprint of the Fourth Book of his
" Geschichte der Bohmischen Briider."


13. [Borott Majestaesbrief.] Der von Kaiser Rudolph ertheilte Majes-

tiitsbrief vom Jahre 1609. Aus einer Bohmischen Urkunde iiber-
setzt mit Anmerkungen, von Johann Borott. Gorliz. 1803.

14. [Bucholtz.] Geschichte der Regierung Ferdinand des Ersten. Von

F. B. von Bucholtz. 9 Bde. Wien. 1831-1838.

15. [Apologia.] Apologia, oder Entschuldigungs Schrifft, aus was

fiir unvermeidlichen Ursachen, alle drei Stende des loblichen Konig-
reichs Bohaimb, sub utraq. ; ein Defension Werck anstellen miissen.
Prag. M. DC. XVIII.

16. [Andere Apologia.] Die Grosse oder Andere Apologia der Stiinde

dess Konigreichs Boheimb,so den Leib u. das Blut unsers Herrn und
Heylands J. C. unter Beyder Gestalt empfahen. Sampt den darzu
gehorigen Beylagen. s. 1. M. DC. XIX.

17. [Deductio.] Deductio, Das ist JSTothwendige Ausfuhrung, Bericht

u. Erzehlung, deren Ursachen u. Motiven : darumb Kayser Ferdi-
nandus der Ander, des Regiments im Konigreich Boheimb und
demselben Incorporirten Lander, verlustigt : und wodurch die Liin-
der zu der Befugten und Rechtmiissigen Wahl jtzt Regierender K.
Majestiit in Boheimb, vermoge ihrer Freyheiten, zu schreitten be-
wogen u. getrungen worden. Im Jahr M. DC. XX. s. 1.

18. [Pescheck.] Geschichte der Gegenreformation in Bohmen. Von

Mag. Chr. A. Peschek. 2 Bde. Leipzig. 1850. 2te Ausgabe.

The first edition has been translated into English : " The Reforma-
tion and Anti-Reformation in Bohemia." London, 1845.

As a general thing we cite this English edition. It is, how-
ever, faulty, omits entire paragraphs, and nearly all the impor-
tant notes.

19. [Pescheck's Exulanten.] Die Bohmischen Exulanten in Sachsen.

Von Christian Adolph Pescheck, Theol. Dr. u. Archidiaconus zu
Zittau. Leipzig. 1857.

20. [Daum.] Die Verfolgungen der Evangelischen in Bohmen. Eine

ernste Warnung fur alle Evangelische. Von Hermann Daum.
Darmstadt. 1800.


21. [Schottky's Prag.] Prag wie es war u. wie es ist. Von Julius

Max Schottky, Professor. 2 Bde. Prag. s. a.

22. [Burg Puerglitz.] Das Piirglitzer Thai u. die Burg Purglitz. Von

J. Nitsche. Wien, 1876.

23. Lissaer Geschichte.] Das Wichtigste u. Merkwiirdigste aus der

Geschichte der Stadt Lissa. Von Pflug, Lissa.


24. [Lissaer Gymnasium.] Zur dreihimdertjiihrigen Jubelfeier des
Gymnasiums der Eeformirten Briider Unittitjetzigen Koniglichen
Gymn<vsiums zu Lissa, am Dienstage, dem 13. November, 1855.
Gedruckt in Lissa.

For years we tried to secure this rare and important work but
without success, until we visited Lissa in 1879, and found that
. there were three copies remaining in the hands ot the Faculty.
One of these copies the Rector of the Gymnasium presented to
us, through the courteous intervention of the Rev. Dr. Koch, one
of the Pastors of the Unitdtsgemeinde.


25. [Dobrowsky.] Geschichte der Bohmischen Sprache und Literatur,

von J. Dobrowsky. Prag. 1818.

26. [Talvi.] Historical view of the Languages and Literature of the

Slavic Nations. By Talvi. (Mrs. Robiason, wife of the Rev. Dr.
Edward Robinson.) New York. 1850.


27. [Palacky's Vorlseufer.] Die Vorliiufer des Husitenthums in Bohmen.

Von F. Palacky. Prag. 1869.

28. [Palacky's Waldenser.] Ueber die Beziehungen und das Verhiilt-

niss der Waldenser zu den eiiemaligen Secten in Bohmen. Von Dr.
Franz Palacky. Prag. 1869.

29. [Hcefler."! Geschichtschreiber der Husitischen Bewegung in Bohmen.

Von C. Hofler. 3 Bde. Wien, 1856-1866.
Ultra Romish and full of faults.

30. [Palacky's Hoefler.] Die Geschichte des Husitenthums und Prof.

C. Hofler, von Franz Palacky. Prag. 1868.
A severe criticism of No. 29.

31. [Documenta Hus ] Documenta Mag. Joannis Hus, vitam, doctri.

nam, causam in Constantiensi Concilio actam, et Controversias de
Religionein Bohemia annis 1403-1418 motas illustrantia, qufe partim
adhuc inedita, partim mendose Vulgata, nunc ex ipsis Fontibus
hausta. Edidit Franciscus Palacky,Regni Bohemise Historiographus.
Pragse. 1869.

A most important collection of documents.

32. [Hist, et Mon.] also [Hus Opera.] Historia et Monumenta J.

Hus atque Hieronymi Pragensis. Norimbergensem, 1715. I et II

A collection of the Latin works of John Hus. An earlier
edition appeared in 1558, also at Nuremberg. We cite the
edition of 1715.


33. [Gillett.] Life and Times of John Huss by E. H. Gillett. 3d ed

2 vols., Boston. 1871. "'

34. [Wratislaw.] John Hus. The Commencement of Eesistance to

Papal Authority on the Part of the Inferior Clergy. By A. H.
Wratislaw, M. A. London, 1882.

35. [Berger.J Johannes Hus und Konig Sigmund. Von Dr. Wilhelm,

Berger. Augsburg. 1871.

36. [Schwabe.] Die Eeformatorische Theologie des J. Hus. Von Dr.

F. Schwabe. Friedberg. 1862.

37. [Friedrich.] Die Lehre des J. Hus. Von Dr. J. Friedrich Regens-

burg. 1862.

38. fHelfert.l Hus und Hieronymus. Studie von Josef Alexander Hel-

fert. Prag. 1853.

39. [Von der Hardt.] Magnum CEcumenicum Constanticnse Concilium

VI. Tomis comprehensum. Opera et labore Hermanni Von der
Hardt. Helmestadt. 1697-1700.

40. LHus Predigten.] Joh. Hus Predigten. Aus der Bohmischen in die.

Deutsche Sprache iibersetzt von Dr. J. Xowotny. 3 Abtheilungen
Gorlitz. 1855.

These sermons are translated from a Bohemian Postil which
the Moravian refugees brought to Herrnhut, in the eighteenth

41. [Huss Sermons.] The Sermons of John Huss, by Rev. E. H. Gil-

lett, D. D. From the " New Englander," October, 1864.

42. [Gillett's Taborites.] The Taborites and the Germ of the Moravian

Church. By Rev. E. H. Gillett. From the American Presbyterian
and Theological Review.

43. [Hus und Wiclif.] Zur Genesis der Husitischen Lehre. Von Dr.

Johann Loserth. Prag u. Leipzig. 1884.

An English translation by the Rev. M. J. Evans, has been
published in London.

This work appeared after those chapters in our History which
treat of Hus had been electrotyped, so that we could make no
use of it. It sets forth Hus as a mere slavish imitator of Wyc-
liffe and is one-sided in its tendency, as has been shown in a
review of the work written by the Rev. J. Max Hark and pub-
lished in the Andover Review, September, 1884.

44. [Krummel.] Geschichte der Bohmischen Reformation im funfzehn-

ten Jahrhundert von L. Krummel. Gotha. 1866.

45. [Krummel's Ut. u. Tab.] Utraquisten und Taboriten. Ein Beitrag

zur Geschichte der Bohmischen Reformation. Von L. Krummel
Gotha. 1871.

46. [Bezold's Sigmund.] Konig Sigmund u. die Reichskriege gegen

die Husiten. Von Dr. F. von Bezold. Miinchen. 1872.


47. [Bezold Husitenthum.] Zur Greschichte des Husitenthums. Von

Dr. F. von Bezold. Munchen. 1874.

48. [Lechler.] Johann von Wicliff u. die Vorgeschichte der Keforma-

mation. Von G. Lechler. 2 Bde. Leipzig. 1873.

A large part of the second volume is devoted to the Bohemian

49. [Reiser's Ref.] Friedrich Keiser's Reformation des K. Sigmund.

Mit Einleitung u. Commentar von Dr. Willy Boehm. Leipzig. 1876.


50. [L. F.] The Lissa Folios. MSS. Herrnhut Archives.

The Lissa Folios comprise fourteen folio volumes of historical
documents collected by the Brethren after the destruction of
their earlier archives in the great conflagration at Leitomischl,
in 1546. Thirteen of these Folios were found, in 1836, by the
Eev. Frederick Emmanuel Kleinschmidt in the vestry of the
Church of St. John, at Lissa. Two years later they were ex-
amined by the Kev. John Plitt, the Historian of the Unitas
Fratrum, who reported that they contained papers of the ut-
most value. Thereupon they were purchased by the authorities
of the Moravian Church, for 500 Thaler, and placed in the Ar-
chives at Herrnhut. The fourteenth Folio has since been
discovered in the Bohemian Museum at Prague. That Folio
may possibly contain the documents which, according to Lukas-
zewicz, disappeared after the death of Bishop Jablonsky, (See
p. 632, Note 25, of our History). These Folios have been ex-
amined by Gindely, who made them the principal source for his
" Geschichte d. Bohm. Briider," as also by Palacky and _Goll.
Some of the documents are written in Latin ; the majority in
old Bohemian, and of these latter many have been translated
into German by Hock (1841). At the present time the Rev.
Joseph Miiller who, according to a resolution of the General
Synod of 1879, has been appointed Historiographer of the Unitas
Fratrum, and who has devoted several years to tlie study of the
the old Bohemian, is engaged in a thorough examination of the
Folios. We cite them in so far as they are referred to by
Reichel, Gindely and Goll. (See pp. 142, 302, Note 2, 476, 596,
Note 13 and 632; Note 25, of our History.)

51. [Jaffet Enstehung d. B. E. or B. U.] Geschichte der Enstehung

der Briider Einigkeit, by John JaSet, Assistant Bishop. MS.
Herrnhut Archives.
62. [Jaffet S. G.] Schwerdt Goliaths, by John Jaffet, Assistant Bishop.
MS. Herrnhut Archives.

We cite Nos. 51 and 52, as referred to by Reichel. Both these

MSS. are very important, especially in connection with the


53. [Blahoslaw's Summa.] Summa qusedam brevissime collecta ex

variis scriptis Fratrum qui falso Waldenses vel Picardi vocantur,


de eorundem Fratrum Origine et Actis. 1557. MS., copied from
the 8th Lissa Folio.

Since printed as an Appendix to GoU, No. 61. See our Hist,
p. 314 and Note 36

64. [Blahoslaw's Boh. MS. Hist.] also [Boh. Hist. Frat.] A MS.

History of the U. F., in Bohemian, quoted by Gindely, Palacky and


According to Gindely and Palacky it was written by Blahos-
law ; according to Goll, the author is unknown. Gindely has
furnished a German translation for the library of the Theo. Sem.
at Gnadenfeld. The original is in the University Library at
Prague. Blahoslaw wrote a second and more voluminous His-
tory of the Church, but this work is lost. See our History, p. 145
and Note 11.

55. [Lasitius.] Lasitii Origo, Progressus, Res prosperae quam adversse,

nee non Mores Instituta, Consuetudines Fratrum. MS. Herrnhut

We cite this work in so far as it is referred to by Plitt. For
an account of its origin see our History, pp. 411 and 412.

56. [Plitt.] Denkwiirdigkeiten der Alten Briider Geschichte. Von

Johannes Plitt. MS. 1828.

A copy is in the library of the Theological Seminary at Beth-
lehem. Plitt wrote his work before the L. F. had been secured
and other new sources had come to light. Taking this circum-
stance into consideration, his History is wonderfully accurate.

57. [Reichel's Zusaetze.] Zusiitze und Berichtigungen zu Johannes

Plitt's Denkwiirdigkeiten der alten Briider Geschichte, nach JafFet
und den 1 3 Lissaer Folianten. Von H. L. Reichel, Lehrer am
Seminarium in Gnadenfeld. MS. 1844-1845.

A very important work to which we repeatedly refer. There
is a coj^y in the Theological Seminary at Bethlehem.

58. [Plitt's Bischofthum.] Vom Bischofthum der Briider Unitat, in

alter und neuer Zeit. Von Johannes Plitt. MS. 1835.

59. [Quellen ] Quellen zur Geschichte der Bohmischen Briider, vor-

nehmlich ihren Zusammenhang mit Deutschland betrefFend. Ver-
offentlicht von Anton Gindely. Wien. 1859.

This work gives a large number of the documents contained
in the L. F. and is very important.

60. [Benham's Notes.] Notes on the Origin and Episcopate of the

Bohemian Brethren, by Daniel Benham. London. 1867.

61. [GoU.] Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Bohmischen

Briider. Herausgegeben von Jaroslav Goll. Prag. 1878.

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