About the essense of the masurian Gromadkar movement
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Online publication date: 2019-07-20
Publication date: 2019-07-20
Corresponding author
Janusz Bogdan Kozłowski
KMW 2019;304(2):218-242
After the Reformation Masurians as subjects of the rulers of the first evangelical state in the world became Lutherans. Over time, the inhabitants of the southern areas of Easy Prussia and the so- called Lithuania Minor felt the lack of the deepened spirituality, which they did not find in the evangelical church. Through the settled in Gąbin (Gumbinnen) exiled from the area of Salzburg pietist Evangelists in Masuria, “The six books on True Christianity” by John Arndt appeared. The book, after the Bible and the Small Catechism of Luther became the most popular among people of Masuria. The first piety movements appeared in Masuria in the county of Nidzica and Szczytno at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. However their true upturn took place from the 1840s. It manifested itself in running home services, prayer meetings- so-called “beads” and increased activity of travelling preachers. In the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century, The Gromadkar movement comprised between 30 and 80% of the Masurian population. The centre of the Masurian clusters was located near Szczytno, Pisz and Mrągowo. Registered in 1885 by the Prussian Lithuanian Christopher Kukat , the East Prussian Evangelical Prayers Association which with the help of its bilingual (German Lithuanian) paper Pakajaus Paslas/ Friedens- Bote gave the organizational framework to the East Prussian clusters. At the turn of 19th and 20th centuries, the Gromadkar movement reached its apogee, also spreading among the Mazurian workers’ communities in the Ruhr. Since the First World War, there has been a gradual stifling of the movement, which in the Nazi era entered agonal phase. The key to understanding the world of clusters is the “Six Books on True Christianity” by John Arndt, in which he creates a kind of bridge between Luther’s teachings and the writings of the Rhine mystics of Master Eckhart, John Tauler and Henry Suzo, giving Mazurians directions for spiritual growth. It was supposed to rely on “Six Books” to deny yourself, to reject your own ego, to seek contact with God, indicating as the goal the union with God. The uniqueness of the Gromadkar movement consisted in going beyond the Lutheran principle of “justification by faith” and entering the ground of Christian mysticism unknown to the Evangelical doctrine, which happened through the work of Arndt. An additional aspect that opens up in this context is the Slavic and Lithuanian spirituality and the sensitivity of the crowd, without which undoubtedly it would not be possible to practice mysticism on the basis of the Evangelical religion.
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