Mkolaus Lndwig Zenzemmirf, count, a bishop of the Moravians, born in Dresden, May 26, 1700, died at Herrnhut, May 9, 1760. His father, a Saxon minister of state, died when the son was very young, and the latter was brought up by his grandmother, the baroness Gersdorf, an earnest disciple of Spener, who was also the young count's godfather. At the age of ten he was sent to the padagogium at Halle, then under the celebrated Francke, where his former religious impressions developed into enthusiasm. He was removed by his uncle on this account to the university of Wittenberg in 1716, but his feelings remained unchanged; and in addition to his other studies he applied himself to theology. In 1719 he left Wittenberg and travelled through Holland and France, and subsequently described his tour in a work entitled "Pilgrimage of Atticus through the World." In 1721 he entered the electoral civil service at Dresden, but he was still much occupied with theological inquiries and devout exercises. In 1722 he married the countess Reuss von Ebersdorf, and in the same year gave a refuge on his estate of Berthelsdorf in Upper Lusatia to a few Moravian families who had fled from persecution in their own country.
The settlement rapidly increased, and received the name of Herrnhut. As these settlers were not agreed in their opinions, Zinzendorf endeavored to establish a union among them on the fundamental truths of Protestantism, formed statutes for their government, and was finally received into their congregation. He now conceived the plan of transforming the ancient Moravian church into an especial organization for propagating practical Christianity. To this end in 1734 he went under an assumed name to Stralsund, passed an examination as a theological candidate, and preached for the first time in the city church; and the same year he was ordained at Tubingen. He then travelled into different countries to extend his society, and many congregations and missions were founded. In 1736, on account of his religious innovations, he was banished from Saxony, and went to Berlin. While here he was consecrated a bishop of the Moravian church. (See Moravians.) In 1739 he published a kind of catechism entitled "The Good Word of the Lord," and the same year made a voyage to the islands of St. Thomas and Santa Cruz, where the Brethren had already established missions.
In 1741, accompanied by his young daughter Benigna, he began preaching at Germantown and Bethlehem, Pa., and in February, 1742, he ordained at Oly the missionaries Rauch and Rüttner. At Shekomeco he established the first Indian Moravian congregation in America. He returned to Europe in 1743, and made a journey to Livonia; but the Russian government would not allow him to proceed further. He then made several visits to Holland and England, where he spent more than four years, and obtained an act of parliament for the protection of his followers throughout the British dominions. He also established a Moravian academy, and obtained a committee of investigation into the principles of the sect, which declared the Moravian community true adherents to the Confession of Augsburg. The number of his followers increased, and new missions were established in the East Indies and other remote regions. He spent his latter years at Herrnhut, where he died after an illness of a few days. His remains were borne to the grave by 32 preachers and missionaries, whom he had reared, from Holland, England, Ireland, North America, and Greenland.' Zinzendorf wrote controversial works, narratives of his own labors, numerous hymns, etc. - See Spangenberg, Lehen des Graf en von Zinzendorf (Barby, 1772-5; translated by S. Jackson, 8vo, London, 1838); Varnhagen von Ense, Leben des Graf en von Zinzendorf in his Denkmale (Berlin, 1830); and R. Ritter, "Notices of Count Zinzendorf" (8vo, Philadelphia, 1857). - His son, Count Christian Renatus, was educated at the university of Jena, and in 1744 was introduced by his father as an elder of the single brethren.
He wrote many practical soliloquies, meditations, and hymns, arid died at Westminster, May 28, 1752.
Single Zinnia (Zinnia elegans).