Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Bechler, John Christian

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BECHLER, John Christian, Moravian bishop, b. on the island of Oesel, 7 Jan., 1784; d. in Herrnhut, Saxony, 18 April, 1857. He was educated at the Moravian college and theological seminary in Germany, came to the United States in 1806, and entered the boarding-school of Nazareth Hall, at Nazareth, Pa., as a tutor. In the following year the American Moravian theological seminary was founded, and he was appointed one of its first professors. Afterward he accepted the principalship of Nazareth Hall, and subsequently had charge of various churches in Pennsylvania and on Staten Island. He was consecrated to the episcopacy at Lititz, Pa., 17 May, 1835, and presided over the southern district. In the following year he went to Europe as a member of the general synod, and did not return, but proceeded to Russia, where he stood at the head of the Moravian establishment at Sarepta, and subsequently was the principal of a similar establishment at Zeist, in Holland. Bishop Bechler was endowed with rare musical talent, and composed various anthems and tunes, some of which are still in use.