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Designing Utopia: The Moravians in Ulster and North Carolina

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 05, 1989


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by Christopher Hendricks

"The Moravians are members of a fifteenth-century pre-Reformation church known as the Unitas Fratrum. During the eighteenth century, the church in the German States experienced a spiritual reawakening. One of the manifestations of this revival was a tremendous emphasis on mission work.

As a result, Moravian communities were built in several European countries and their colonies. The ultimate purpose of a Congregation Town or Gemein Ort was to create an atmosphere of family. The Moravians felt that the physical appearance of the town played a role in creating this atmosphere, so much so that how a town looked was regulated by church elders.

The prototype of all Congregation Towns was built in Saxony on the ancestral estate of a Lutheran nobleman, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Herrnhut, begun in 1727, reflects the evolution of the 'renewed' Moravian church and its unique qualities, including the development of a theocracy and the use of communal dormitories to house single members of the congregation over the age of fourteen.

Here the Moravians adopted a common Germanic town form of a gridiron road system and a town square, and shaped it to meet their special requirements."

This article looks at communities influenced by the Moravians, a 15th century pre-Reformation church known as the Unitas Fratrum.

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