Matthias of Kunwalde

Matthias Of Kunwalde, one of the first ministers of the Ancient Moravian Brethren (q.v.), flourished in the 16th century. He was appointed at the Synod of Lhota, in Bohemia, in 1467. On that, occasion nine men, of high repute for piety, were elected by ballot. Then twelve lots were prepared, nine being blank, and three inscribed with the Bohemian word Jest (He is). Thereupon a fervent prayer was offered up beseeching God to designate of these nine nominees, either one, or two, or three, as the ministers of the Church; but, if this should not be the time which he had ordained for such a consummation, to cause all the nine to receive blanks. In this event the Brethren would have deferred further action to some future period. Nine lots having been drawn singly from a vase and given to the nominees, it appeared that Matthias of Kunwalde, Thomas of Prelouc, and Elias of Chrenovic, had each received one marked Jest. The synod rose to its feet, sang a thanksgiving hymn, composed for the occasion, and accepted these three men as the future ministers of the Church. In the same year, after the episcopacy .had been secured, Matthias, although only twenty-five .years of age, was consecrated a bishop, and, upon the resignation of bishop Michael, became president of the Church Council. He administered its affairs, according to the extreme views of discipline entertained by Gregory (q.v.), until 1494, when he resigned his presidency and united with the liberal party. In 1500, while on his way to a synod in Moravia, he died at Leipnik, after having, in his last will and testament, which he addressed to the Brethren, exhorted them to avoid schisms, and to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. He was buried at Prerau. (E. de S.)

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