Church of Brethren Collection
Bratislava Cukrová 4, Slovakia 811 08
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Name of collection
- Church of Brethren Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The Church of the Brethren issued samizdats and revived the hymnals written at the end of the 19th century by sisters Kristína Royová and Mária Royová within the Lutheran church. These were awakening hymns in Czech with later additions of German and English hymns from global mission movements. These hymns inspired them to write their own hymns, too. Initially, people copied them by hand and distributed them within the Blue Cross movement which officially represented the International Federation of the Blue Cross, an organization promoting abstinence, with its seat in Switzerland. These hymns were published as printed booklets called Hymns of the Blue Cross society. In 1906, their second edition appeared in the form of a hymnal called Piesne sionské [Hymns of Hermon]. The Piesne sionské [Hymns of Hermon] hymnal was adapted to the modern Slovak language and published at the time of communism by the Church of the Brethren and by Christian congregations under the title Kresťanský spevník [Christian Hymnal]. It was adapted by Vladimír Betina, Ondrej Fabrici, Juraj Potúček and Michal Slavka of the Blue Cross movement. After 1948, in the period of socialism, the Blue Cross movement was banned.
Other activities included the establishment of the Mission Youth Choir conducted by Milica Kajlingová (1964) and of the Kvapôčky [Droplets] Children’s Choir (1967). The repertoire of the youth choir included early music – Gregorian chant, Renaissance compositions, compositions of early Bohemian masters, compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, hymns from the period of awakening, Slovak folk songs, spirituals, pieces from the liturgy of the Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church, as well as the original compositions of Slovak Lutheran composers and poets. The youth choir sang at divine services and implemented artistic musical and verbal projects based on the poetry of Milan Jurča, filled with songs and instrumental music.
The Church of the Brethren collaborated with the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession and with the Unity of the Brethren Baptists. When a conference and meeting of Baptist congregations was organized in 1970 in Westfalenhalle in Germany, the recording of the performance of the choir of the Unity of the Brethren Baptists was released on an LP by Billy Graham – Euro ‘70 in Minnesota, USA (Billy Graham: Euro ‘70. World Wide Rec., LP 1970, B G 2932Z4RS – 2933). The Youth Choir of the Church of the Brethren (Youth Ensemble of Bratislava). The choir witnessed the political relaxation and could step out from its semilegal activity when it got an opportunity to record an official LP by the Supraphon record label (Misijný spevokol mladých Cirkvi bratskej v Bratislave: Rozhovory so synom [Mission Youth Choir of the Church of the Brethren in Bratislava: Conversations with the Son]).Larger projects of the ex-members and descendants of the Blue Cross movement included the Royová Celebrations (1969) where a commemorative plaque was unveiled in the Lutheran parish of Stará Turá. Many choirs, as well as soloists from various churches, learnt several compositions together and performed them on stage together.
Description of content
- The library of the Church of the Brethren is available for its members. It functions as an archive, an education centre and a platform for the development of one’s personal relationship with God. They organize lectures, conferences, exhibitions and concerts related to the issues of totalitarian power. The library contains documents and recordings of the activities of the Church of the Brethren under the totalitarian regime.
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
- music recordings: 10-99
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Bratislava Cukrová 4, Slovakia
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Creator(s) of content
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Kajanová, Yvetta
Yvetta Kajanová, Gospel music na Slovensku, CoolArt, 2009, s. 94, 102, 109-110, 113-114, 126-129, 135 – 136.
Ivan Valenta: Úvod k spevníku Výber z Piesní sionských, konferencia ECAV o misijnom odkaze sestier Royových, 5.-7.5.2006, Stará Turá.
Valenta, Ivan , interview by Kajanová, Yvetta , May 12, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection