August 13

Anniversary of the First Moravian Love Feast

Moravian Love Feast in Wake Forest

The Moravians were followers of a fifteenth century Czech priest/reformer, John Hus, who was burned at the stake in 1415 for disobeying the Catholic Church and preaching his sermons in the local Bavarian dialect. Almost wiped out by persecution during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), a small band of Moravians found refuge in Saxony (East Germany) where a rich landowner, Count von Zinzendorf, a Lutheran, gave the Moravians some land to farm on his estate.

The members of the Moravian Church made it their custom to celebrate special occasions by sharing with friends a simple meal, a "Love Feast." The name of the service is a literal translation of the New Testament word "agape."  It is reminiscent of the "agape meal" shared by the early Christians as recorded in Acts 2 of the New Testament.

The first Love Feast was served in Germany on August 13th, 1727, following the Renewal of the Moravian Church. The first Love Feast in the United States (the region now known as Winston-Salem) was held in Wachovia November 17, 1753, on the evening of the arrival of the first Moravian colonists in North Carolina. The traditional Moravian Love Feast celebrates the birth of Christ through scripture reading and prayer, the singing of hymns, the lighting of candles, and the serving of Moravian bread and coffee.Formal Moravian Love Feasts are  celebrated several times a year, depending on the community, and the same traditional recipes are used in preparing the buns and cakes used in the services that were used over two hundred years ago.

Moravian Love Feast Buns


3/4 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pk dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 eggs, beaten

1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 TB orange rind
1 TB lemon rind

1/2 cup mashed regular or sweet potatoes
4 - 5 cups flour
butter for greasing bowl and cookie sheet,
   and for top of rolls

  1. Pour scalded milk over butter. salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Cool
  2. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add yeast mixture, eggs, nutmeg, rinds, and mashed potatoes to cooled milk mixture.
    Slowly add enough floor to make a soft, easily handled dough.
  4. Turn dough out on a floured board and knead until it is soft and elastic.
  5. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and put in a warm place to rise until doubled (about 2 hours). Punch down, cover with towel, and put in a warm place to rise again until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours)
  6. Break off 3" ball of dough. Form into buns. Place on greased cookie sheet and let rise again until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours) .
  7. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. When buns begin to turn golden, brush buns with melted butter and continue baking.
Makes 12 - 14 buns