The world’s most famous Christmas song, “Silent Night,” was brought to life near Salzburg by two music-loving Austrians. Two stained-glass windows in the Stille-Nacht-Kapelle in Oberndorf bei Salzburg honor the carol’s creators. According to the inscription seen at the bottom right of the Mohr window pictured here, it was donated to the chapel by the Ostmärkischer Sängerbund (choir) of Vienna in 1935. The top half of the window shows “Vikar Josef Mohr” gazing upward, quill in hand. In the lower half we see an image of the now-demolished parish church (Pfarrkirche) in which Mohr’s lyrics were first sung in 1818. – Below you will find the full text of the window’s inscription with an English translation.
Both the Mohr window pictured above and the Franz Gruber window (not pictured here) were fabricated in Innsbruck by the Tyrolean Stained Glass Institute (Tiroler Glasmalereianstalt). The Gruber window was donated by the Wiener Schubertbund, or Schubert Association of Vienna, also in 1935.
The Silent Night Chapel itself was designed by architect Josef Dietzinger. Construction spanned some 13 years between groundbreaking ceremonies in 1924 and formal dedication in 1937. The chapel’s foundation was completed in 1928, the stained-glass windows donated and installed in 1935, the altar in 1936. The finished chapel was dedicated on August 15, 1937. Each year about 150,000 people from all over the world visit the Stille-Nacht-Kapelle in Oberndorf.
Source: Manfred M.K. Fischer, Director, Silent Night and Local Heritage Museum, Oberndorf b. Salzburg.
Window Text in German and English
Below is the window text, line-by-line as it appears on the window. See the photo above.
“Vikar Josef Mohr schuf hier den Text des Liedes.
Stille Nacht / heilige Nacht
Hier stand die alte Pfarrkirche in welcher das Lied 1818 das erstemal zur Christmette gesungen wurde.
Stifter: Ostmärkischer Sängerbund, Wien 1935.”
“Here curate Josef Mohr created the song’s lyrics.
Silent Night / Holy Night
Here stood the former parish church in which the song was sung for the first time during Christmas mass in 1818.
Donor: Ostmärkischer Sängerbund (choir), Vienna 1935.”
More | Silent Night (Stille Nacht)
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – Our “Silent Night” page has the true story and related links.
- Christmas Carols – Popular German and Austrian carols with lyrics in German and English
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- Advent and Christmas – The “arrival”
- Christmas in the USA and Germany – A comparison chart
- Barbarazweig – The legend and the Christmas custom
- Epiphany and the Sternsinger – January 6 in the Germanic Christmas tradition
- Holidays and Celebrations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
ON THE WEB
- German Christmas Carols – Lyrics in German and English – from AboutGerman.net.
- Stille-Nacht-Gesellschaft – The Silent Night Society (in English and German)
- Silent Night and Local Heritage Museum – Oberndorf – This Web site—in German—and the museum are located in Oberndorf, Austria, the home of the “Silent Night” (“Stille Nacht”) carol. Features some information not available anywhere else about the world’s most famous Christmas carol and interesting links from the museum and the Silent Night Association.
- Franz X. Gruber-Museum in Arnsdorf, Austria. In German or English. The webmaster’s family has long been associated with the preservation and interpretation of Franz Gruber’s life and times. MIDI of original “Silent Night” melody.
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