Katzer Families

The heritage of the "Bohemian Brothers"
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(We thank Professor Georg Katzer for the contribution )

The movement of Jan Huß, who was burnt as a heretic in Constance, Germany on July 6, 1415 because he had criticised  grievances in the Catholic church, produced the church of the "Bohemian Brothers",  a pre-reforming community that was close to the Waldenses and that was strictly oriented to the Bible and the Sermon of the Mont in particular.  In contrast to the teachings of the Roman-Catholic Church they  used to celebrate Communion under both kinds, bread and wine. Unlike the radical branch of the Hussits this group strictly rejected any form of violence to enforce their claims.  March 1, 1457 , the day when the first small community was founded in Kunwald in the mountains of Glatz, is also considered as the day of the foundation of that church.

In spite of cruel persecutions the community of the Bohemian Brothers, the  "Unitas Fratrum", grew and became an important church in Bohemia and Moravia in the following years. A large number of theological documents, their own translation of the Bible, known as "Kralitzer Bibel" (see"Kraliky"), which became very important for the Czech linguistic area, and the publication of a hymn-book containing a large number of their own chants give evidence of the strength of the community. The theological teachings were essentially correct.  

Some exiles, however, met with a warm reception immediately beyond the country's border, in the Saxon "Oberlausitz". After an extremely dangerous and arduous walk across the rough border mountains, a group of German speaking descendants of the Bohemian Brothers from northern Moravia arrived at the estate of the count of Zinzendorf  in spring 1722.