Moravian missions in Greenland

The Moravian missions in Greenland (Greenlandic: Qatanngutigiinniat; Danish: Brødremenigheden;[1] German: Herrnhuters) were established by the Moravian Church or United Brethren and operated between 1733 and 1900. They were operated under the auspices of the Royal Danish College of Missions until its dissolution in 1859 and were finally surrendered to the Lutheran Church of Denmark in 1900.[2] Missionaries were allocated to the region and sometimes even sent wives who had been chosen for them and approved by the drawing of lots, a form of Cleromancy.

They included:

A large factor in their favor despite the Danish Mission College's having already named Hans Egede as the director of mission work in the territory was the failure of Egede's own Bergen Greenland Company and a costly debacle involving the royal colony under Major Claus Paarss. Considering Greenland's sparse population, particularly after a smallpox epidemic from 1733 to 1735 brought by an Inuit youth returning from Denmark, – ironically, one of the very same who so inspired Count Zinzendorf to begin the Moravian Church's missions in the first place – the missions were, after a settling-in period, very successful. The United Brotherhood delivered the timber and erected the first church in 1747.[4] Lichtenau was for a time the largest settlement in Greenland. However, the missions were forced to pay for their freight after the Greenland monopoly was granted to the General Trade Company[4] and the Royal Greenland Trading Department's Instruction of 1782 discouraged further urbanization or acculturation of the local Inuit, whose hunting the company depended upon for its income, and greatly hindered further mission work.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jensen, Einar Lund & al. Monographs on Greenland: Man and Society, Vol. 38: "Cultural Encounters at Cape Farewell: The East Greenland Immigrants and the German Moravian Mission in the 19th Century". Museum Tusculanum Press, 2011.
  2. ^ Wittman, P. "Greenland". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Co. (New York), 1909. Accessed 28 Apr 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lüdecke, Cornelia. "East Meets West: Meteorological observations of the Moravians in Greenland and Labrador since the 18th century Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine". History of Meteorology 2, 2005.
  4. ^ a b c d Brown, William. The History of Missions: Or, Of the Propagation of Christianity Among the Heathen, Since the Reformation. B. Coles V.D.M., 1816.
  5. ^ a b American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. "Biography: Life of Matthew Stach". The Missionary Herald, #19. Samuel T. Armstrong, 1823.
  6. ^ Cranz, David & al. The History of Greenland: including an account of the mission carried on by the United Brethren in that country. Longman, 1820.
  7. ^ a b "Mission in Greenland". The Christian Library: Comprising a Series of Standard Works in Religious Literature. Key & Biddle, 1833.
  8. ^ Del, Anden. "Grønland som del af den bibelske fortælling – en 1700-tals studie Archived 2012-07-15 at the Wayback Machine" ["Greenland as Part of the Biblical Narrative – a Study of the 18th-Century"]. (in Danish)
  9. ^ Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Vol. 4. Smithsonian Institution, reprinted by Digital Scanning Inc, 2003.