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Berthelsdorf is a municipality in the district of Görlitz, in the southeastern part of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. The municipality is next to the Czech Republic and Poland. Nicolaus Ludwig, Imperial Count von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf bought the Berthelsdorf estates (Upper, Middle and Lower Berthelsdorf) from his grandmother, Catharina, Baroness von Gersdorf, in 1722, where he built his manor house "Bethel"--"House of God" in Middle Berthelsdorf. Soon after buying the estates and calling Johannn Andreas Rothe as pastor of the Lutheran parish in Berthelsdorf, he agreed to receive Protestant exiles from the Kuhländchen in Moravia upon his new estate. The first group arrived in June, 1722, under the leadership of carpenter Christian David. They founded the nearby city of Herrnhut on the estate on 17 June, 1722. They were later joined by several hundred other refugees from Habsburg oppression in Bohemia/Moravia, now the Czech Republic. Under the guidance of Zinzendorf they united to renew the ancient Unitas Fratrum. 13 August, 1727, is the date usually considered as the renewal date, which took place in the parish church in Berthelsdorf. From Berthelsdorf and Herrnhut then the Brüdergemeine, in English, the Moravian Church, spread out across the world, beginning in 1732 with the sending of the first Moravian missionaries. Zinzendorf also provided sanctuary in Berthelsdorf to persecuted followers of mystic Kaspar Schwenkfeld from nearby Silesia. They were forced by the Electoral Saxon government to emigrate to Pennsylvania, and Zinzendorf sent two Moravians to accompany them in 1734–35, in order to scout out the mission possibilities in America.

The municipality has two subdivisions: Rennersdorf and Berthelsdorf.

 

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Berthelsdorf ist eine Gemeinde im Landkreis Görlitz im südöstlichen Freistaat Sachsen. Die Gemeinde, die der Verwaltungsgemeinschaft Herrnhut angehört, besteht aus den beiden Ortsteilen Berthelsdorf O/L. und Rennersdorf/O.L.

 

Wie in fast allen Dörfern der südlichen Oberlausitz ist das Ortsbild durch eine Vielzahl von Umgebindehäusern geprägt. Besonders hervorzuheben sind die Häuser der ursprünglich schlesischen Glaubensgemeinschaft nach Kaspar Schwenckfeld, denen Graf Zinzendorf 1725 in Berthelsdorf Asyl gewährte. Das einstige Gemeindehaus der Schwenkfelder befindet sich an der Oberen Dorfstraße 10. Einige der Schwenkfelder konnte Zinzendorf für seine Gemeinde gewinnen, andere wanderten nach Amerika aus.