Bath Moravian Church

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John Comenius

Moravian People

Bishop John Comenius (15921672) in the snows of the Giant Mountains on Bohemia's northern border he prayed for God to preserve a "hidden seed" of the Unitas Fratrum in Bohemia. Seven years earlier, on the "Day of Blood," 15 of the Brethren and other Czech patriots were beheaded. In the days that followed clergy were imprisoned, "church members were sent to the mines or dungeons, churches were closed, schools destroyed, Bibles and hymnbooks, catechisms and histories burned" notes James Hastings.

More than 36,000 families of the Brethren fled Bohemia and among them was Comenius, a graduate of Heidelberg and a headmaster. In 1632 in Lissa, Poland he was named their bishop. Comenius established a reputation on the continent as an educational innovator, and many of his educational theories are still considered valid. He was the first to introduce pictures into schoolbooks.

Tradition says that newly-founded Harvard College offered him its presidency, but his care for the ancient church was his primary concern.. Fierce opposition in Poland forced him to flee to Holland. Fearing that his church would die, he raised thousands of dollars, mostly from Christians in England, to print Bohemian and Polish bibles and in a will bequeathed "our dear Mother, the Church of the Brethren" to the Church of England's care.

His son-in-law, Peter Jablonsky, succeeded him as bishop and thus kept the flickering hopes of the Brethren alive.

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