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Bohemian Brethren


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Later known as ‘Moravian Brethren’ and ‘Unitas Fratrum’. They were a group of Utraquists who formally separated from that body in 1467; they stood for a simple and unworldly Christianity. Organized as a Church by Lukáš of Prague (d. 1528), the sect spread rapidly. After 1547 repressive measures were taken against them; many migrated to Poland, where they allied themselves with the Calvinists in 1555. Those who remained in Bohemia obtained freedom to practise their cult in 1575, but fixed their principal seat in Moravia; hence their alternative name. They became the leading sector in Bohemian Protestantism, with many rights, but after the Battle of the White Mountain (1620) all Protestants were exiled. In 1721 the remains of the sect accepted an offer of N. L. von Zinzendorf to join the Herrnhutter, with whom they amalgamated. They laid special emphasis on Church services, organization, and education; their contribution to Czech literature was considerable, especially through their translation of the Bible (1579–93). They influenced early Methodism. For their later history, see Moravian Brethren.

Subjects: Christianity.


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