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The Gods Acre cemetery of Christiansfeld

In the old town’s north-easterly corner lies “God’s Acre”, as the Moravian churchyard is called.

This is where the congregation’s members find their last resting place when their temporal life is over. After the funeral service in the church, where the bier is absent though when the priest reads aloud a summary of the major events of the deceased’s life (the “life stories”), the bier, accompanied by the Moravian’s brass instrument ensemble, is taken through the streets to the churchyard.

Over the gateway that marks the entrance to the churchyard is written “It is sown in corruption”. This is to serve as a reminder that the deceased is laid to rest with all the human frailty that life has given. On leaving “God’s Acre”, one can read above the gate the words “One arises incorruptible”, confirming the promise of resurrection.

The deceased are laid to rest in the churchyard in the same manner in which the congregation sits in the church, with the “brothers” on the left-hand side and the “sisters” on the right. All the headstones are identical, symbolising that all are equal in death. The inscription faces towards the east. The numbers on the stones reflect the order in which members of the congregation died from the time of the first death on September 26, 1773.

As none of the graves are ever demolished or replaced they serve, together with the “life-stories” as a unique source for historical research.

The old lime trees can be admired both outside the church and in the churchyard. The trees were planted when the town was founded.

(From The Cristiansfeld Initiative)

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