Easter sunrise service held in Moravian tradition

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio – An Easter sunrise service, a custom as old as the recorded history of Tuscarawas County, will be conducted at Schoenbrunn Village State Memorial.

This year’s service will begin at 6:30 a.m. on Easter morning, April 15. The service is free and is open to the public.

Operated by the Ohio Historical Society, Schoenbrunn Village is a partial reconstruction of the original Schoenbrunn mission founded in 1772 by Moravian missionaries and Christian Indians.

The Easter sunrise service is a continuation of the historic Moravian custom of gathering around the congregation cemetery at dawn on Easter, a tradition which began in Germany in the 1730s.

The service will commence outside the reconstructed log church or will be held inside the church in the event of rain. A silent procession to the mission cemetery and a brief ceremony will conclude the service.

Moravian ministers from the area will conduct the service and a Moravian brass choir will perform a prelude and accompany hymn singing.

The original effort to reconstruct Schoenbrunn in the 1920s was led by local Moravians. Today, the Moravian community in Tuscarawas County continues to show enthusiasm for the historic Schoenbrunn mission with the co-sponsorship of traditional services held at the site at Easter and Christmas each year. Today, these special services are often attended by as many as 300 guests.

Schoenbrunn Village is located in New Philadelphia at 1984 East High Avenue (State Route 259). Visitors can use Exit 81 off of Interstate 77 and follow the posted signs to Schoenbrunn Village.

For more information call 330-339-3636 or 800-752-2711.

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