Tuesday, August 23, 2016

4 Moravian Sites To Explore In Labrador

Moravians were German and Czech Protestant devotees that came to Labrador in the mid-18th century as part of their church’s missionizing efforts throughout the world. 

Sir Hugh Palliser, then Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Newfoundland (1764-1768) viewed the Moravian church as a means to calm conflict between the Inuit and European settlers.

A Strong supporter of the migratory fishery at Labrador, Palliser was concerned by disorder in the Strait of Belle Isle between Inuit, French and British fishermen. He built a blockhouse at Chateau Bay and encouraged the Moravian Brethren, a Protestant sect from Saxony, to establish a mission to the Labrador Inuit. 

Palliser spent much of the 1767 summer in Labrador, trying to make peace with the Inuit. Consequently, the first permanent Moravian mission in Labrador was established in 1771 at Nain by the Moravian Brethren. They would later go on to establish missions in several Labrador Inuit coastal communities between the 1770′s and 1960′s.

The Moravian missionaries also brought with them a unique and aesthetically interesting architectural style, illustrating the design influences from the vernacular styles of Central and Eastern Europe at the time. 

As an entity, Moravians were far more than just religious leaders, also introducing the arts, including classical music and a written language that remains in use today.

In 2005, the last missionary was recalled after a 234-year presence. However, Moravian traditions and customs live on with a distinct Labrador Inuit twist. The Moravian church remains an integral part of northern Labrador’s Nunatsiavut region and in recent years there has been a cultural revival of traditional Moravian music throughout the northern coastal communities of Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet.

The Internal Grenfell Association has played a key role in this revival, funding countless music workshops where local Inuit relearn traditional Moravian music and song once thought lost. Today, they proudly perform throughout Labrador, a glimpse back into a profoundly emotional part of their culture that is coming back to life. 

In April 2011, Innismara, a Vocal chamber ensemble based in St. John’s, took part in a very special project. They visited Labrador’s spectacular coastal communities and explored Moravian musical traditions.

The Moravian presence is a cultural, historical and architectural gem amidst spectacular Nunatsiavut. A definite must see while exploring sensational Labrador!

Moravian Seal or Agnus stained glass with lamb in the center, a religious movement in northern Labrador, also called Nunatsiavut
Moravian Seal or Agnus Dei, JJackman, Wikipedia

Labrador Inuit with Moravian Missionary (ca. 1819), Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and history travel to explore
Labrador Inuit with Moravian Missionary (ca. 1819), Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage

old world map of northern Labrador, Nunatsiavut, circa 1871, a historical vacation document for viewing
Moravian Map (1871), Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage

portrait painting of Sir Hugh Palliser, whom explored Northern Labrador throughout the 19th century, a historical fact on your visit to Newfoundland, Canada
Sir Hugh Palliser, Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage

illustrated map of Moravian mission establishments throughout northern Labrador, an experiential holiday learning experience in eastern Canada

Nunatsiavut Brass Band with trumpets in traditional Inuit garb clothing beform inside church in Newfoundland and Labrador, an experiential travel cultural and historical holiday experience
Nunatsiavut Brass Band, CBC

Moravian Points of Interest

#1. Hebron Moravian Mission Station – Hebron

The Hebron Mission Station, a designated National Historic Site of Canada, is the oldest mission building in all of North America. 

First settled by Moravian missionaries from Germany in 1830, the station provided an impressive church, school, medical clinic and post office building. They even planted large mission gardens including rhubarb which still grows there today.

Hebron was a once beloved Inuit community but for economic reasons, the station officially closed in 1959. This was a traumatic event to countless Labrador Inuit whom call Hebron home. The closure of the community and the resettlement of its people was a tragic event that has had far-reaching consequences.

Today, The Nunatsiavut Government is actively working to restore the buildings at Hebron to their former architectural glory so as to preserve them for future generations.

white exterior of Hebron Moravian Mission Station in Nunatsiavut, Labrador with blue sky and mountains and ocean and wild flowers in grassy fields, an eco adventure, cultural and historical travel destination
Image Via Linkum Tours

hebron rock pile overlooking the great expanse with plateaus and water and hills in Moravian Mission Station in Nunatsiavut, Labrador, a breath-taking adventure holiday point of interest
Hebron Rock Pile, © Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism; Barrett & MacKay Photo

#2. Moravian Church – Nain

The Moravian Church in Nain is a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The church is an early twentieth-century wooden church building with a low-pitch gable roof and a square bell tower with a helm roof. It is located near the shore and community dock and is a dominant structure on the landscape.

The Moravians were known to spend extended periods of their ministry at their chosen missions; sometimes up to 30-40 years. They spent a great deal of time and effort in building whole complexes such as the one in Nain, which contains wood buildings like the church, stores, outbuildings, and residences.

white exterior with green trim of Moravian Church in Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, an architectural marvel to view on your adventure and living history experiential vacation
Via www.cbc.ca

Moravian Church in Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada with pews and white roof, a beautiful point of interest on your NL holiday
Via www.facebook.com/happyvalleymoravian.church

boat crosses the water at sunset in front of rolling hills in Nain, Northern Labrador, Canada, a stunning eco adventure and cultural trip experience
Community of Nain, Weston Renoud, Flickr

community of Nain waterfront with mountains and rolling hills of forest on a clear blue sky day, a definite wellness destination to consider exploring
Community of Nain, Weston Renoud, Flickr

#3. Moravian Church – Happy Valley

The Moravian Church in Happy Valley is the youngest of the congregation. They recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of their founding in October 2014. 

Happy Valley Moravian represents the most recent migration of many Labrador Inuit Moravians from the northern coasts to the Lake Melville area during the Second World War. This was inspired by the placement and building of a new air base in neighboring Goose Bay. 

The mission headquarters also moved from Nain to Happy Valley, a clear sign of the new order that was coming to Labrador. 

Moravian Church in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL with red roof and steeple, peach wood siding nestled in the forest, a Newfoundland and Labrador travel point of interest
Via facebook.com/happyvalleymoravian.church

Moravian brass band perform inside the church at Happy Valley, NL, an enriching musical and educational holiday experience
Via http://labradormoravian.blogspot.ca/

early morning mist rises at Happy Valley-Goose Bay between flatland forest and mountains, an eco adventure and wellness travel site
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Olya Sanakoev, Flickr

#4. Hopedale Moravian Mission Complex – Hopedale

The Hopedale Moravian Mission Complex is home to the oldest and largest continuously used Moravian buildings in Labrador. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, the original mission settlement was constructed in 1782.

Today stands seven buildings built by the Moravians in their unique and appealing architectural style. Hopedale Mission Complex is one of the most cherished sites in all of Newfoundland and Labrador to visit. 

side view with white exterior with green trim of Hopedale Moravian Mission Complex National Historic Site of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador travel and tourism must-see on your vacation
Via Hopedale Moravian Mission

boardwalk leading to Hopedale Moravian Mission Complex National Historic Site of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, an off the beaten path experiential travel vacation
© Destination Labrador

view of community of Hopedale in NL, Canada with dock, boats, mountains and sun, a beautifully peaceful and tranquil travel holiday destination
Community of Hopedale, Weston Renoud, Flickr

rocky beach-side of community of Hopedale in Newfoundland and Labrador at dusk and sunset with houses and boats in the background, this is an authentic and peaceful wellness holiday
Community of Hopedale, Weston Renoud, Flickr

illustrated map of ferry service to the northern Labrador Nunatsiavut communities, an ooff the beaten path travel cruise, eco adventure, cultural and wellness vacation destination
Image Via Nunatsiavut Tourism

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Contact Matthew or John to start planning your most exceptional journey!

Sitting in a field at Spillars Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada with ocean and cliffs in the background is Matthew, Experiential Travel Planner with Experience Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Agency
Matthew Barrett, Experiential Travel Consultant

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