Count Zinzendorf



Born: May 26, 1700, Dres­den, Ger­ma­ny.

Died: May 9, 1760, Herrn­hut, Sax­ony.

Buried: Herrn­hut, Sax­ony.


Born into ar­is­to­cra­cy and wealth, von Zin­zen­dorf brief­ly stu­died law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wit­ten­berg. Tir­ing of ac­a­de­mia, he left school at age 19 to tra­vel through­out Eur­ope.

Three years lat­er, he in­her­it­ed the es­tate of Ber­tels­dorf in Sax­ony. It was there he pe­rmit­ted a group of re­li­gious re­fu­gees called the Mo­ra­vi­an Breth­ren to set­tle. By 1732, this Mo­ra­vi­an set­tle­ment, named Herrn­hut (the Lord’s Shel­ter) had grown to ov­er 600. This was the birth­place of the Mo­ra­vi­an de­nom­in­ation, led by Zin­zen­dorf.

The Mo­ra­vi­ans be­gan send­ing out mis­sion­ar­ies in 1732, the first two go­ing to the West In­dies. In 1735, a group went to Georg­ia, then Penn­syl­van­ia.

They ar­rived in Penn­syl­van­ia on Christ­mas Day, 1741, join­ing a group al­rea­dy there. In­spired by their Christ­mas ar­riv­al, they named the new set­tle­ment Beth­le­hem. It is from this town that the fa­mous Beth­le­hem Steel Com­pa­ny got its name.

Zinzendorf wrote about 2,000 hymns in his life; the Mo­ra­vi­ans trans­lat­ed ma­ny in­to oth­er lang­uag­es for use in their mis­sion work.