Krudener, Barbara Juliana Von

Krudener, Barbara Juliana Von, a religious visionary and enthusiast, was a granddaughter of the Russian field-marshal Von Miinich, and daughter of the states councillor baron Von Wietinghoff; and was born at Riga in 1764 according to some authorities, or in 1766 according to others. In 1782 she married baron Von Kruidener, the Russian ambassador at Venice, and a great admirer of the French philosopher Rousseau. But, unfortunately, the baron, who had been twice married before, succeeded much better in making his wife an ardent disciple of the philosophical principles which he himself espoused than in winning her affections for himself, and after the birth of a son and a daughter the husband and wife separated, the latter to take up her residence at Paris. Here, in the vortex of dissipation, her better feelings would sometimes assert themselves, but they were smothered by the adulations of all the brilliant personages who surrounded her, among whom figured conspicuously Chateaubriand and Madame de Stael. In imitation of the latter she gave the world her biography, in the shape of a sickly sentimental novel entitled Valerie, describing an immoral relation concealed beneath the fragrant veil of romance, and redolent with a religious Romish and fanatical sentimentalism. The work is said to have been written with the assistance of St. Martin, and created quite a sensation, meeting with great success, especially in the higher circles of society. After many adventures, Madame von Kriidener came to reside at Berlin, where she enjoyed the close intimacy of that noble woman queen Louisa, of whose projects she was the confidante and sharer in the stormy period of Prussia's warfare with France. In 1808 she became acquainted with Jung Stilling and Oberlin, and thereafter we find her devoted to religious mysticism in its most aggravated forms. She bought a place for the mystics at Boirmingheim, in Wiirtemberg, and did all in her power to promote their interests. Unfortunately, however, the disorders occasioned by the seeress Kumrin, and by pastor Fantaine, whom she protected, were visited upon her head, and she was exiled by king Frederick. She now retired to Baden, and then went to Strasburg, and finally to Switzerland. Wherever she went she attracted attention, both by her political predictions and by the preaching of her peculiar doctrines, heralding a new religious aera, that of unity in the Church-" the period when there should be one flock and one shepherd." At Geneva especially she created quite a stir in religious circles, and among the clergy of distinction whom she won to her views may be mentioned pastor Empaytaz, the eventual head of the Momiers (q.v.). With the assistance of men of talent and education of Empaytaz's stamp she formed " prayer unions," and urged the community to a more vital Christian living, and the liberal use of property for the good of the poor. The fulfilment of her predictions of the fall of Napoleon, his return from Elba, and the final crisis at Waterloo, aided her cause, and emboldened her to the assertion that she enjoyed the favor of God in a special degree. Among her most ardent followers at this time she counted no less a personage than the Russian emperor Alexander, who, with the Bible in his hand, was her frequent guest; and it is known that her influence over Alexander brought about the Holy Alliance. Her love of humanity, however, and her gigantic schemes for its moral and social elevation, often led her to overstep the bounds of prudence and propriety, and made her appear a dangerous character in the eyes of persons of authority, so that she gradually lost the favor of men of political prominence. She was obliged to quit France and other countries successively, and even lost the friendship of the emperor Alexander, as is evinced by the treatment she received in Russia when she was called thither in consequence of the sickness of her daughter. She was not only refused admittance to the emperor, but when afterwards she advocated the cause of the independence of Greece, and pointed to the Russian emperor as the instrument selected by God for the accomplishment of this great work, she was requested to refrain and to leave St. Petersburg. Under the influence of the Moravians her life and habits had been changed after she quitted Paris, and she had often dreamed of founding a great correctional establishment for the reformation of criminals and persons of evil life. Now driven from St. Petersburg, and the attack of a cutaneous disease necessitating her residence in the south, she started in 1824 with the design of founding such an institution, and of establishing a German and Swiss colony on the other side of the Volga. On the way, however, death overtook her at Kara-su-

bazar, Dec. 13,1824. The life thus suddenly brought to a close has been variously commented upon. In her day " passion oscillated in the public judgment between favor and hostility to her," but now, when nearly half a century has passed, and it is easy in deliberation to pass judgment upon her life and acts, she is generally spoken of favorably, and her endeavors to inspire the people with religious zeal, and a feeling of love for each other as a common brotherhood, are recognised. Says Hagenbach (Ch. Hist. 18th and 19th Centuries [transl. by Dr. J. F. Hurst], ii, 413 sq.), "It is a remarkable phenomenon, that a woman trained in the dwellings of vanity, and humbled by her sins and errors, had such a spirit of self-denial as to minister on a wooden bench to the poor and suffering, to seek out criminals in prison, and to present to them the consolations of the Cross; to open the eyes of the wise men of this world to the deepest mysteries of divine love, and to say to the kings of the world that everything avails nothing without the King of kings, who, as the Crucified, was a stumbling- block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. She was derided, defamed, persecuted, driven from one country to another, and yet never grew weary of preaching repentance in the deserts of civilization, and of proclaiming the salvation of believers and the misery of unbelievers.... Wherever she set her foot, great multitudes. of people physically and spiritually hungry, of sufferers of every class, and persons without regard to confession, surrounded her, and received from her food-yea, wonderful food. The woes which she pronounced on the impenitent awakened in manyan oppressed and troubled spirit, a feeling of joy at misfortune, while many a genial word of love fell into good ground." Besides the novel already mentioned, she wrote Le Camp des Vertus (Paris, 1815). Many curious details of her conversations and opinions are preserved in Krug's Conversationen mit Frau v. Kriidener (Leipz. 1818). See also C. Maurer, Bilder aus d. Leben eines Predigers (Schaffhausen, 1843); Berl. Zeitschriftfur christl. Wissenschaft u. christl. Leben (1857, No. 5); Zeitgenossen (Leipz. 1838), iii; Adele du Thou, Notice sur Mme. Julienne de Kriidener (Geneva, 1827, 8vo); Mahul, Annuaire Necrologique, anno 1825; Eynard, Vie de aMe. de Kridener (Paris, 1849, 2 vols. 8vo); Ziethe, Jul. v. Krudener (1864); Hauck, Theol. Jahresbericht (1869), 4:537; Sainte-Beuve, Portraits de Feimmes; Derniers Portraits Litteraires, etc.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:112; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 27:234. (J. H. W.)

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