Conference on Moravian Brethren’s activities in Polar Lands
22.10.2012 / 13:16
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.
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.
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.
The church in Mankovice in front of Matthäus Stach’s birthhouse
Miroslav Švajda, the Mayor of Mankovice, revealed a memorial plaque devoted to Matthäus Stach
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.
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.
Missionary K. David’s birth house at Ženklava
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.