The Hermitage




    The Mahantongo Heritage Center


               The Hermitage, where the spirit is visible, the planet is sacred, the earth is family

and our founder resides in a spring.



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When we bought the land in 1988, only the barn was here. We lived in it for nearly two years while we moved an early pioneer settler’s cabin to the property and rebuilt it as the First House.

That first winter was miserably cold and we only had a kerosene heater which absolutely failed to keep us warm. We ended up moving our 11-foot camper trailer into the barn and living in it during the coldest months. Needless to say there was no electricity, no running water, no plumbing and little of anything else. That was by necessity. But we kept it that way for years as we built the community by moving other buildings onto the property, either in pieces or intact, and redesigning them.  

Our goal was to recreate an eighteenth-century community of single brothers that was located north of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We had moved to Bethlehem from Salt Lake City where we met in college. We came to Pennsylvania to buy a farm. But Bethlehem had originally been a religious community and we wanted to have our own spiritual  family of brothers. 

Our model was a community called Christiansbrunn, the Spring of Christian, named for the leader of the brotherhood. Ironically he never came to Pennsylvania, being born in Germany and dying in London at the age of 24. However his brothers believe Christian’s spirit lived again in the waters of what became a sacred spring. By drinking the water, they believed, one was entered by the spirit of Christian. That spring still exists.                                                                        

Altes Christiansbrunn

Chrisatiansbrunn was located eight miles north of Bethlehem in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.

This set us on fire. It was the union of the physical and the spiritual which we had been seeking for years. The idea was by living the life of those early brothers, that the brotherhood would live again. Yet we found that we were not suited to communal life but to the isolated life of hermits, which each brother living in his own house.  

Now our master plan in completed with more than two dozen structures on the property, including craft houses, a community house and the Mahantongo Heritage Center.

Our own lives have changed as we have created a family not solely of humans but a broader ideal of living with the birds and animals that inhabit the Hermitage. William Penn’s vision of an earthly paradise garden where humans and animals live in peace continues to guide us. 

We have come to realize that all are one and one is all. However it is easier to say than to live.                      


The way we were: 1994. Photograph by David Perry and used with permission.

Our totally-subversive message is simple: We are one in the spirit. It’s subversive because it goes against common sense, it goes against the evidence of our senses and it goes against the very nature of language. And yet it is not a matter of faith or belief; it is a matter of fact even if it isn’t  self-evident. The question we deal with every day is how to demostrate it so that others can see what we see.


           Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf                       1727 - 1751

Our founder, Christian Renatus von Zinzendorf, is our role model for uniting the spiritual and the physical, in three ways:                                      

1. Christ lived in him.

2. He physically and ritually consumated the Divine Marriage with himself as the Divine        Bridegroom and his brothers as his brides.    

3. After his death, he lived again in a spring in Pennsyvlania across the Atlantic Ocean from   where he died in London.                                


Christian's Spring

Where beauty and harmony dwell, the earth joins with the spirit, and humanity unites with all living things.

Our annual open house for 2017 will be Sunday, August 13 from noon to 4 p.m. Major buildings and the museum will be open for tours. Pennsylvania Dutch baking and spinning will be demonstrated. No admission fee but donations are accepted.

Our blog:


Visit our other web sites:l


Christian and Johannes have been growing and processing flax since the early 1980s. The website presents the story of flax and flax processing. It also shows the various flax items the brothers have for sale.


The story of the Hermitage told in story form by Johannes and in poetry by Christian

The Mahantongo Heritage Center and the Hermitage are open by reservation from June through October. Please contact us to     schedule a visit.There is no admission fee but donations are gratefully accepted.

Postal mail: The Hermitage, 75 Grove Rd., Pitman, PA 17964 U.S.

Phone: 570-425-2548

Email: brojoh@yahoo.com

Check our videos at www.youtube.com and type in “atthehermitage” in the search line.

A tour of the Heritage Center on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ysirIMh0NVI