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Author: Subject: Groeditz
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[*] posted on 2-15-2017 at 11:17 AM


Translated by Ed Bernthal

In the Wendish language Rodžišćo, abbreviated Rošžo, probably got its name from its location on a rocky hill, and received this name in the Middle Ages, since its Wendish name means a fortress or fortification. In the early centuries, the upper part of the place could have been a fortified knight’s property. There is no dependable information about its founding. From one of the royal castle fortifications located nearby one can conclude that there were bulwarks, and in several ancient Upper Lusatian documents from the 12th century, it was reported by Wilhelmina von Gersdorf many years ago in a story received by Zschokke about the amusements, in which there was mentioned a fortress Graditz. The German name Groeditz, in earlier centuries spelled Graeditz, was named after the ancient Wendish name.

It lies 3 St. from Bautzen, and just as far from Loebau, and, on the northeastern side, 25 minutes from the Prussian border. The knight’s property, church parsonage and school, and a greater part of the town, lie on a bare hill, from which on all sides a long view is open. But there are not only those from the east and toward the northwest a chain of attractive hills, but also some distant mountain peaks such as the Lausche, the land crown at Goerlitz and a part of the Rusen Mountains can be seen on more sides from a long distance. The royal castle has an excellent location with its east side standing on the edge of a high rocky wall which has been overgrown by trees, till they thin out from the east, and merge with those found in the depths belonging to the Weiche knight’s property, particularly on the rocky hills, the Skala, that is a rock formation named and built on it from which the Loebau creek flows. Already for centuries, the knight’s property belonged to the old and many branched generations of Gersdorfs. The present owner and court administrator is Ernst Gustav von Gersdorf, regional director at Bautzen and administrator of the civil income order.

Besides the local church, the following churches have a settled parish since the Reformation:
Cortnitz (Chortnica)
Wuischke (Wuježk)
Nechern (Njechorń;)
Wurschen (Worcyn)
Belgern (Běła Hora)
Drehsa (Droždźij)
Rackel (Rakojdy)
Briesnitz (Brězecy)
Cannewitz (Skanecy)
Weicha (Wichowy)

The church, which has already for a long time stood in its present place, but which seems to have later received a new tower, was completely rebuilt on its old foundation in 1790, and has a shingled roof. The interior is very simple, painted white, without paintings or decorations, and has room, although used for a purpose ,that is quite limited.

According to the available information, lightning has repeatedly struck the top of the tower, but without igniting it or causing any significant damage. For example, on June 25, 1730, during the 200th Anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, at 9:00 o’clock in the evening, the upper part was demolished and had to be newly replaced in 1735. In January 1809 and on August 19, 1918 at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon, lightning hit under the tower bells without damaging them in the least, then went down into the church where it destroyed a register of tin pipes in the organ, and here and there in the church, namely in the pulpit and altar gold embroidery, left its mark. Already in the same year, the tower and the church were supplied with lightning rods. The tower, which is about 28 yards high, has a double shingle roof which was last in 1848 newly covered and painted, the foundations were cleaned and white-washed, and the knob, flag and star were gold tinted, which amounted to over 400 Thaler for the cost and upkeep. The three bells, the largest of which weighs 17 Ctr., 24˝ Pfd., were cast in 1826 for the cost and transportation by Friedrich Gruhl in Kleinwelke and were given a harmonious ring.

Since the parish consists of Wends and Germans, and the latter in proportion to the first are 1-20, so up to now the worship service on each Sunday and festival day is held first in Wendish and right after that in the German language. The whole parish has a common burial place, which surrounds the church, and which provides a firm resting place throughout.

There are no antiquities or memorial portraits of historical value either in the church or in the cemetery. There are remembrances of two old fortifications at Belgern and Rackel of the wars in the earlier centuries, and embedded cannon balls in 1813 at the royal castle at Wurschen. Otherwise, there is a memorial in this parish, although without any inscription to give information of its purpose, but for the benefit largely for the parish. Although there is hardly any trustworthy information as to its origin or purpose, it does deserve grateful mention. As namely, by the death occurring on October 20, 1821, of the royal Braunschweig-Lueneberg chamberlain and knight of the Prussian Johannites order, Friedrich Erdmann von Thielau, court judge at Wurschen, Nechern, Belgern and Pertinentien and first Collator of this church, he wanted to leave to his surviving widow, Frerdericka Louise Chistiann von Thielau, born von Wurmgart from the left-over knight’s property in this church, for her to memorialize him as the Collator of the church with the erection of a suitable memorial, which she gave among other valuable gifts to the church in 1822, she had built on the road from Nechern to Groeditz at the places where the road because of high standing water had often hindered those going to baptisms, funerals and other church activities, and also their attendance of the worship service in Groeditz, with an expenditure of more than 1500 Thaler, a fine stone bridge and on two long stretches high steps of stone, so that now when there was an unusual flood the church goers had a stretch of the road which they could pass over without danger.

A similar deed was done in another part of our parish and for the children attending school in Groeditz in part in 1839 by the overall care of the present owner from Groeditz, the district director von Gersdorf with the active participation of the neighboring leaders and congregations in the valley around the Groeditz Mill over the Loebau which intersects the road from Weiche to Groeditz, where otherwise there was only a high wooden bridge, but when they had to go through the river with their wagons, and where already by average high water levels, the community between Weiche and Groeditz was disrupted or had to be done with danger, a beautiful stone bridge was built.

May this generous improvement for the parish and the school administration, by the care and concern which the owner and administrator of the incorporated Weicha, Heinrich August von Heynitz took the responsibility to lead in the building of this bridge which will still benefit future generations.

The number of children who were instructed here amounted to 146.

The Collator under the court administration of Wurchen was the former Mrs. Clara Maria Graefin at Solms-Sonnenwalde.

At the opening of this school institution, Johann Ernst Martschke, born at Grosswelke, was called as the teacher, who in 1836 was the school teacher at Rachlau in the Hochkirch parish. He was followed by the present installed school teacher, Peter Foerster from Raundorf near Gausig.

b.) where both of the places, Breisnitz and Cannewitz are incorporated. This neighboring school was opened in 1828. The newly built from the ground up massive school was dedicated on May 27, 1830, and the present teacher, Johann Traugott Strietzel, born in Baruth, was installed.

Now there are 104 children attending this neighboring school.

The Collator in the present court administration at Rackel, Ferdinand Count and Nobleman at Lippe-Biesterfeld at Baruch has taken over.

Andreas Voigt, Pastor

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