Herrnhaag was a communal spiritual centre for the Moravian Unity, an early form of Protestantism. It and Marienborn, a sister community, are located in the Wetterau. “Herrnhaag was designed to express the Moravian ideal before it was built” and served a unique purpose, there were to be twelve gates following the description of New Jerusalem in Revelation. According to church leader Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, who planned the community, the Moravian Unity anticipated “the end time when the reality would become the total reality. ”Living in that end time was the purpose of Herrnhaag. According to Zinzendorf, “We have care to thank for the fact that we are here together. Before it was available, he brought his family to stay at the Ronneburg, eventually the Zinzendorfs moved into Marienborn and construction of Herrnhaag began in 1738. The community was unfinished at the time of its abandonment in the early 1750s, community members lived under the direct rule of Christ as the community’s chief elder and shepherd. Herrnhaag was the church’s fastest growing settlement and the one most criticized for heresy, the community’s focal point was the great hall, the Saal, the place of ritual and worship. The Saal was built on two levels, with a balcony overlooking the main floor, representing earthly reality below and the heaven reality above. The festivals held in the Saal provided a multimedia effect on worshippers resulting from the combination of illuminations, music, ritual, paintings, precious offering of grace from above. The young men’s strength will be gathered for knighthood in your service. This house shall become, and those that live therein, your glorification here on earth. ”As with other Moravian communities, living arrangements were based on the separation of members according to age, marital status, each choir had its own festivals. The festival of the Single Brothers at Herrnhaag in 1748 included the glorification of Christs sidehole wound, considered sacred because it represented Christs compassionate, there was also a pictorial representation of the sidehole large enough that each man could enter and pass through it. In this way the men understood they were becoming one with Christ, what was condemned as heretical by many towards events at Herrnhaag was the blending of the sexual and the spiritual, the human and the divine. There is some evidence that they practiced this literally among themselves, many within and without the church were scandalized by rumors of such behavior and Ludwig von Zinzendorf finally decided to take action, threatening to whip those involved. Christian and others were called to Lindsey House outside London where Nicholas was living, the residents of Herrnhaag began dispersing after this. In addition to the bad publicity, Herrnhaag and its festivals were a drain on the church. Every one of the refused to comply, and began to emigrate in 1750
Herrnhaag as it looked in 1750.
Marienborn as it looked in the mid-18th century.
The Saal or hall, scene of festivals and religious ceremonies.
The Sisters' House to the left and the Lichtenburg on the right.