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Conference on Moravian Brethren’s activities in Polar Lands

The 6th international conference of the Association “Moravian“ under the title “Moravian Brethren in Polar Lands“ took place 19-21 October 2012 at Suchdol nad Odrou in North Moravia, the Czech Republic.

The aim of the concerence was to commemorate Christian missions of the renewed Moravian Church in 18th century Greenland and Canada because many of its important members came from Czech-German families in North Moravia. During Recatholisation, Moravian Brethren were forced to leave North Moravia for Herrnhut in Germany from where they travelled to Denmark (Christiansfeld) and afterwards to Greenland.

Konference Moravští bratři

Konference Moravští bratři podium
The conference participants and one of the many lectures

The conference took place under the patronage of Richard Ehler, the Mayor of Suchdol, Christian Hoppe, the Danish Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Zdeněk Lyčka, the Czech Ambassador to Denmark, Karel Müller, the Director of the Regional Archives in Opava, Professor Hans Rollmann from Labrador, Drahomír Strnadel, the Chairman of Matice Radhošťská and Eliška Štěříková, the Czech-German historian.

Konference strom

Konference Moravští bratři lampa
Lighting of Kleinschmidt’s lamp which used to show the Greenlanders their way to New Herrnhut in Nuuk (from the left: Former Danish priest in Greenland H. Wilhjelm, a German tranlator, Suchdol’s Mayor R. Ehler and Czech Ambassador Z. Lyčka

About 70  conference participants heard many interesting lectures from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Poland, Denmark and Canada. The contributions were translated to German, English and Czech. The Czech Ambassador had an opening greeting and presented his lecture “Czech Traces in Greenland“. He also lighted on Kleinschmidt’s lamp, named after one of the most known Danish missionaries in Greenland who wrote the first Greenlandic Grammar in the 18th century.

Konference Moravští bratři Před kostelem
The church in Mankovice in front of Matthäus Stach’s birthhouse

Konference Moravští bratři pamětní deska

Moravští bratři pamětní deska
Miroslav Švajda, the Mayor of Mankovice, revealed a memorial plaque devoted to Matthäus Stach

Moravští bratři strom
Newly planted memorial tree from Bethabara where M. Stach is buried

Czech Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka also took part in revealing a memorial plaque for Matthäus Stach, the first missionary of the renewed Moravian Church in Greenland  (1711-1787), on his birthhouse in Mankovice by Suchdol. Josef Christ had an ceremonial speech in the name of the former German inhabitants of Mankovice. Afterwards, in front of the Museum of Moravian Brethren, Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka together with professor Hans Rollmann planted a memorial tree from Bethabara where M. Stach is buried.

konference Moravští bratři kámen
Opening of the “Forest Church“ of Martin Schneider near Suchdol

Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, together with other guests, took part in the opening of the “Forest Church“ in the memory of the secret Moravian Brethren’s preacher Martin Schneider (1612-73) and visited the birth house of Kristian David, the Moravian Brethren’s preacher in Greenland, born in 1692 at Ženklava by Kopřivnice.

Konference Moravští bratři rodný dům
Missionary K. David’s birth house at Ženklava

Konference Moravští bratři pamětní deska

Konferrence Moravští bratři pamětní deska II
Memorial plaque on K. David’s birth house

The conference participants had an opportunity to see the Czech premiere of the new documentary movie Moravians Among the Eskimos produced by Czech Television. Ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka gave an interview to the biggest Moravian-Silesian regional TV station Polar.

The international conference focused on the Moravian Brethren’s activities in Greenland and other polar areas (Canadian Labrador and others) was arranged in the Czech Republic for the first time and it was well-attended. The Association Moravian is going to publish a collection of lectures by all the speakers and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Copenhagen will make an attempt to gain a tree from Greenland for the Garden of Moravian Brethren at Suchdol.


Ceremonial Speech by Josef Christ during revealing a memorial plaque for Matthäus Stach in Mankovice

TV report on the conference


Pozvanka_2012_EN.pdf 266 KB PDF (Adobe Acrobat document) Nov 23, 2012

Moravian_Gedenktafelrede.doc 32 KB DOC (Word document) Nov 23, 2012