Comenius A Forerunner In Education -- By: Leslie R. Sovocol

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 089:355 (Jul 1932)
Article: Comenius A Forerunner In Education
Author: Leslie R. Sovocol


Comenius A Forerunner In Education

Leslie R. Sovocool

At the Synod of Zerawic on the 27th of April, there was ordained to the priesthood of the Unity, a man whose career shed lustre upon the last period of its history, whose fame filled Europe and reached other continents, who with one hand laid upon the remnant of the Brethren God’s protecting Benediction, and with the other pointed, like a seer, to a better time, a new epoch, a glorious renewal of the Church of his fathers. This was none other than John Amos Comenius, or Komensky. He was born on the 28th of March, 1592, at Niwnitz, a market town near Ungarish-Brod, on the domain of Ostran, in Moravia. His parents were wealthy members of the Brethren’s Church. Both died when he was a child. The guardians to whose care he had been left neglected him. He was sent to the Moravian schools at Ungarish-Brod and Straznic. In 1611 he entered the Theological Institute at Herborn in Nassau; on the 19th of June, 1613 the University of Heidelberg. After completion of his studies he traveled to Holland and probably to England. On his return to Moravia he was appointed, through the influence of Charles von Zerotin, Rector of the school at Prerau. There he began to examine into the system of education then in vogue and devise new methods. One of his first literary works was a treatise on grammar, published in 1616. Two years after the Synod of Zerawic he was appointed pastor of the flourishing parish of Fulneck and Rector of its school.

In its original seats the Unitas Fratrum was overthrown by the storms of the Anti-Reformation. To profane the cemeteries of the Brethren was an outrage in which the Catholics seemed to take particular delight. On a domain of the Barons von Swihow, at Horazdowic, stood an old convent which had been in possession of the Unity for many years and formed the burial place of several of its ministers. In 1621 this convent was seized and given to a monastic order.

The rich literature of the Brethren perished almost entirely. Their Kralitz Bibles, their Hymnals and Confessions and Catechisms, the many other works which they had issued, were cast into the flames by thousands. When Spanish mercenaries sacked Fulneck in 1620, the library and manuscripts of Amos Comenius were burned in the public square. At the present day some of the most famous writings of the Brethren exist only as antiquarian relics.

The Schools which gave to the Unity so widespread a reputation, its College at Eibenschutz, its theological institutions, its recently established Gymnasium Rosarum, with 40 to 50 free scholarships and a throng of students all came to an end.

After the sacking of Fulneck, Comenius continued to labor in h...

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