Articles, Books, Documents, Periodicals, Audio-Visual
Search the Library
Search the Directory
Your support makes our work possible. Please Donate Today
Herrnhaag (Lord's Grove) was a communal spiritual centre for the Moravian Unity, an early form of Protestantism. It and Marienborn, a nearby sister community, are located in the Wetterau, an area of Hesse, north of Frankfurt am Main in Germany.
â€śHerrnhaag was designed to express the Moravian ideal before it was builtâ€ť  and served a unique purpose: it was planned as the House of God. There were to be twelve gates following the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation. In the center was the well of the water of life also recalling Revelation: â€śThen the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the cityâ€ť (Revelation 22:1).
According to church leader Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf who planned the community, the Moravian Unity anticipated â€śthe end time when the heavenly reality would become the total reality.â€ť ( Living in that end time was the purpose of Herrnhaag which was designed to be the residence of Christ. According to Zinzendorf, â€śWe have [the Holy Spiritâ€™s] care to thank for the fact that we are brought here together, that we dwell in a Mother-city.â€ť 
During exile from the family estates in Saxony, Zinzendorf began negotiating for Marienborn as a residence for what was called the Pilgrim Congregation. Before it was available, he brought his family to stay at the Ronneburg, a dilapidated castle in the area. Eventually the Zinzendorfs moved into Marienborn and construction of Herrnhaag began in 1738. The community was unfinished at the time of its abandonment in the early 1750s.
Community members lived under the direct rule of Christ as the communityâ€™s chief elder and shepherd. Herrnhaag was the churchâ€™s fastest growing settlement and the one most criticized for heresy. The communityâ€™s focal point was the great hall, the Saal, the place of ritual and worship. The Saal was built on two levels, with a balcony overlooking the main floor, representing earthly reality below and the heaven reality above. The festivals held in the Saal provided a multimedia effect on worshippers resulting from the combination of illuminations, music, ritual, paintings and pageantry.
The cantata written for the dedication of Herrnhaagâ€™s Single Brethrenâ€™s House in 1739 shows how community residents looked upon their lives as dedicated to Christ â€śYou know how much we cherish you, most magnificent of all gifts! Precious offering of grace from above! Bless the sacred marriage. Bless the sacred virginity . . . the young menâ€™s strength will be gathered for knighthood in your service . . . This house shall become, and those that live therein, your glorification here on earth!â€ť
As with other Moravian communities, living arrangements were based on the separation of members according to age, marital status and gender into so-called choirs. Each choir had its own festivals. The festival of the Single Brothers at Herrnhaag in 1748 included the glorification of Christ's sidehole wound, considered sacred because it represented Christ's compassionate, sacrificing love. Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf, Nicolaus Ludwig's son, led the ceremony making it clear that he literally had become the sidehole of Christ and when he embraced the men, they were embraced by the sidehole.  There was also a pictorial representation of the sidehole large enough that each man could enter and pass through it. In this way the men understood they were becoming one with Christ.
What was condemned as heretical by many towards events at Herrnhaag was the blending of the sexual and the spiritual, the human and the divine. Based on writings of Christian Zinzendorf proclaiming all souls to be female, the brothers were proclaimed by Christian Renatus to actually be female and therefore eligible to be brides of Christ who could be entered and filled. There is some evidence that they practiced this literally among themselves and perhaps between the genders as well.
Many within and without the church were scandalized by rumors of such behavior and Ludwig von finally decided to take action, threatening to whip those involved.  Christian and others were called to Lindsey House outside London where Nicholas was living.
The residents of Herrnhaag began dispersing after this. In addition to the bad publicity, Herrnhaag and its festivals were a financial drain on the church. But the decision to actually close the settlement was the result of the new local ruler, Gustav Friedrich Count of Ysenburg-BĂĽdingen, who demanded that the Moravians abjure Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf and swear fealty only to himself. Every one of the residents refused to comply,and began to emigrate in 1750, and the community was abandoned by 1753.
In the latter twentieth-century Herrnhaag was resettled as a Moravian commune and restoration work was begun on the Lichtenburg, the "Fortress of Light", containing the Saal worship hall and the rooms where Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf had lived, and the Sisters' House. As of 2009, other buildings are privately owned such as the Single Brethren's House, where Christian Renatus lived, which is now a farm house. The community well remains in the center of the property.
This article is based on one or more articles in Wikipedia, with modifications and additional content contributed by
Connexions editors. This article, and any information from Wikipedia, is covered by a
Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the
GNU Free Documentation
We welcome your help in improving and expanding the content of Connexipedia articles, and in correcting errors. Connexipedia is not a wiki: please contact Connexions by email if you wish to contribute. We are also looking for contributors interested in writing articles on topics, persons, events and organizations related to social justice and the history of social change movements.
For more information contact Connexions