Info

Munsterberg, who assembled a very strong team, with assistants trained in Halle, for the Czech and Polish preaching. Circumstances pushed the Teschen Pietists into revivalism. German confessions began at six on a Sunday morning, and communions, confessions and preaching would go on all day, while the crowds arriving from a distance would spend their time in enthusiastic hymn-singing. And the Teschen staff were less like ordinary parish pastors than circuit riders, dividing up their duties by rota: one week devoted to public prayer meetings and ministerial duties, the second week travelling out to the sick, the third week rest, and the fourth riding out to support the travelling preachers.

The story played out in Silesia was repeated with local variations wherever the Habsburgs tried to suppress Protestant populations. The damage to Protestant faith and practice had gone much further in Bohemia and Moravia than in Silesia, and since flight now seemed the only resort for the Protestant labouring orders, the Catholic authorities shackled the labour force more firmly to the soil. A series of peasant revolts followed and in the 1720s this resistance blended with revival under the preaching and literary propaganda ofTeschen. The King of Prussia was anxious to attract Bohemian Protestant labourers, but the revolts encouraged by the Teschen propagandists were savagely put down by the Habsburgs. The most successful illicit poacher of labour across the border was Johann Christian Schwedler, the revivalist minister of Niederwiesa, who became expert in stocking the estates of the Lusatian gentry, including Zinzendorf's grandmother, with Protestant labour smuggled out through Silesian villages where the revival had given him a hold. A rootless refugee population in Lusatia was a prime target for the revivalists, and when Zinzendorf established toleration on his estate at Berthelsdorf, many settled there. There was now an open contest for the religious roots of Czech nationalism. The Habsburgs promoted the veneration of a fourteenth-century Bohemian, John of Nepomuk, obtained his canonization in 1729, and pressed the cult on a great scale. In reply, the Moravian Protestants at Herrnhut brought about one of the most famous of all revivals which beat the canonization of John of Nepomuk by a short head, and considerably outdid him in international significance. Each side now had its icon.

Meanwhile, trouble hadbeenbrewing outside the Habsburglands but within their sphere ofinfluence. There were, it was thought, a few thousand Protestants in the diocese and principality of Salzburg, some informally tolerated in the mines, some settled in the hills as peasants. A crisis was brought on by the election of Baron von Firmian as a reforming archbishop. He turned the Jesuits upon the Protestants residing in the principality, expelling them from

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment