Born: May 26, 1700, Dresden, Germany.
Died: May 9, 1760, Herrnhut, Saxony.
Buried: Herrnhut, Saxony.
Born into aristocracy and wealth, von Zinzendorf briefly studied law at the University of Wittenberg. Tiring of academia, he left school at age 19 to travel throughout Europe.
Three years later, he inherited the estate of Bertelsdorf in Saxony. It was there he permitted a group of religious refugees called the Moravian Brethren to settle. By 1732, this Moravian settlement, named Herrnhut (the Lord’s Shelter) had grown to over 600. This was the birthplace of the Moravian denomination, led by Zinzendorf.
The Moravians began sending out missionaries in 1732, the first two going to the West Indies. In 1735, a group went to Georgia, then Pennsylvania.
They arrived in Pennsylvania on Christmas Day, 1741, joining a group already there. Inspired by their Christmas arrival, they named the new settlement Bethlehem. It is from this town that the famous Bethlehem Steel Company got its name.
Zinzendorf wrote about 2,000 hymns in his life; the Moravians translated many into other languages for use in their mission work.