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MU Spotlight: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf


Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760)

What is your role at the University and what is something many may not know about the work you do?

I am the founder of a vibrant religious community known as the Brüdergemeine (note: you may want to connect with Dr. Hildebrandt, Dr. Lempa, or Dr. Atwood to learn how to pronounce this…). The Brüdergemeine is what I refer to as the Community of Brethren, but you may know it as the Moravian Church. I was quite excited when the Moravian Church emerged as a separate denomination in the 1740s because this allowed me to do something I really enjoy – traveling! Although I was a bit of a rebel, overseeing the activity in Germany, the Netherlands, England, the Baltic States, and the West Indies and New York and Pennsylvania, I aroused enough controversy to be a little revolutionary.

What is something you would like to share that no one knows about you? 

Don’t give up and be vulnerable in the process of lifelong learning. I was exiled and faced widespread opposition for my work to stabilize the religious environment, yet I persisted to make positive change. Join me in creating your legacy; who knows, maybe your name will appear on a building at Moravian University one day, too!

What sound do you love? Why? 

The hymn by Adam Drese "Jesus, Call Thou Me … lowly Bethlehem" is music to my ears! Did you know that, while singing this hymn during a Christmas Eve service in 1742, I was inspired to name "Bethlehem"? Think of me when you tell your friends and family about the quaint little town where Moravian University resides. Oh, and if you’d like to enjoy my favorite sound, perhaps Dr. Traupman-Carr will sing this for you; I hear she has a beautiful voice.

I can never resist a good ____.

Hairstyle. Look at me, I have great hair!

What’s your favorite Moravian tradition?

The celebration of community – every day. Have you ever thought about how you define this word? Say it with me -- /kəˈmyo͞onədē/ -- now think about what this means to you. If you share my feelings of fellowship with others in the Moravian University community, join me in celebrating shared attitudes and goals. Likewise, join me in celebrating our differences. For me, community is about respecting the beauty of our differences; it’s about celebrating the diversity among us to keep our community exciting and alive. I heard that you started something called Heritage Day last year, where you completed 2,390 hours of collective service and impacted 1,195 people; this is the essence of community. This picture of your human 275 is a beautiful embrace of community. Keep being a little revolutionary…