Digital Collections Spotlight: Digital Collections Spotlight #18: Easter
By Jonathan Ennis, digital archivist
As part of an ongoing series of posts, we’re highlighting different collections and items from the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem. Check out our earlier posts in this series at https://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/digital-access/.
With the Easter holiday fast approaching it seems an apt time to highlight a few examples of Moravian Easter morning services, some drawn from a collection we are digitizing and making available online.
The earliest record of such services is from 1732 in Herrnhut, Germany, when a group of the Single Brothers met in the community’s cemetery, known as God’s Acre¹, and sang hymns and meditated on the death and resurrection of Christ. The following year most of the community joined in a similar service and over time it became a significant yearly event that was spread by Moravian missionaries and practiced in their communities throughout the world.
Two of these images are from the Labrador Mission Stations collection, which we have recently digitized as part of the “Uncommon Bonds: Labrador Inuit and Moravian Missions” project, which we have been working on alongside the Nunatsiavut government and Memorial University of Labrador, supported by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The goal of this project is to digitize a large collection of material from the Moravian Church’s mission stations in Labrador between 1764-1944, making this valuable resource more widely available to researchers and the people of Labrador through both our website and that of Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative (DAI).
In this page from the diary of the Hopedale Church, the writer mentions celebrating Easter in 1894, stating “Quite a few settlers from the north and south had come here to celebrate Holy Week and the Easter holidays with us. Yet more would have come if not for the lack of necessary dog food, which had been a hindrance for many.”
This is a page from a notebook of lessons in Inuktitut digitized as part of the “Uncommon Bonds” project and was intended for use during Easter Week, according to a flyleaf it was written for the Hopedale church in 1864.
This second example is from the same project and is from a book of Moravian liturgical songs printed in Gnadau, Germany. This page is titled “Litanei am Osternmorgen”, or “Litany for Easter Morning”
¹ For more on God’s Acre see our earlier Digital Collections Spotlight here: https://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/digital-access/digital-collection-spotlight-12-gods-acre/
Uncommon Bonds: Labrador Inuit & Moravian Missionaries, 15 Mar. 2021, uncommonbonds.org.