The Moravian star has been shining its warm and graceful light for 200 years. It may be the most widely known aspect of the Moravian Church. We can be grateful that it is a symbol of light, love and learning. It has become a worldwide ecumenical tradition.
Now the Federal Republic of Germany is recognizing the Moravian star’s place in German history with a commemorative coin. Released at the end of 2022, this German 25 Euro collector coin recognizes the star, in German as a “Herrnhuter Stern,” and features the bell tower on the church in Herrnhut.
The coins are issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance in limited numbers; approximately 100,000 of the 2022 coins were minted. Münze Deutschland is the official sales agency for collector coins of the Federal Republic of Germany. German coins are issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The new coin was designed by Czech artist Martin Dašek. One side combines the church tower with the star and the “Herrnhuter Sterne” text. The reverse side depicts a stylized eagle, partially surrounded by 12 five-pointed stars representing the European Union, combined with the text BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND – 2022 and the coin’s 25 Euro denomination. The “A” mintmark signifies that the coin was minted in Berlin. This is the Finance Ministry’s second Christmas-themed coin.
Herrnhut was the village which our Moravian refugee ancestors founded on Count von Zinzendorf’s vast estate when he gave them shelter in 1722. The word “Herrnhut” means “the watchcare of the Lord.”
The Moravian community was inspired to found many schools. An early Moravian Bishop, John Amos Comenius, wrote a book, Orbis Sensualium Pictus (The Visible World in Pictures), which consisted of pictures illustrating Latin sentences.
An 1820 diary from a student at the Niesky Moravian boarding school for boys in Germany says that they “went to see the star in the Brethren’s House” It had 110 points and was used as a Christmas decoration. This diary detail was discovered in 2011 at the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The star shape helped students understand geometry.
A traditional Moravian star has 26 points, but many variations and sizes and colors also exist. They can be found online in a dazzling variety. Stars are now produced in the Star Factory in the town of Herrnhut. Stars are sent worldwide. A recent annual total was 800,000 stars per year. One of their stranger requests was for a large star to be packed in a waterproof red box. Their mail plane would drop the star into the snow by parachute.
The German coin became available in the U.S.A. in 2023.
The Moravian star continues to shine brightly worldwide to remind us—and those spending 25 Euros in Germany—of the Light of Christ.
Thanks to Al Reynolds, member of Graceham Moravian Church in Thurmont, Maryland.