Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ein' Feste Burg ist Unser Gott

Monday was the 525th birthday of Protestant reformer Martin Luther. The birthday was also observed on Issues Etc. with an interview with Pastor Paul McCain.

Beyond his work as a theologian — creating what became the Lutheran church — Luther also penned a few hymns. The unofficial anthem of the Lutheran church is “Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott,” with word and music by Luther. In the LCMS branch in the US, the song is played every year on Reformation Day — Oct. 31, commemorating the day in 1517 that Luther nailed his 95th Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg.

Today, “A Mighty Fortress” is found in every Protestant hymnal and — as Episcopalian hymn blogger “C.W.S.” notes — even in the Catholic hymnal. (S)he also notes the dozens of English translations from the German original, including one by the inveterate 19th century hymn translator Catherine Winkworth.

1 comment:

elephantschild said...

(over here via the Brothers of John the Steadfast...)

My husband's old boss, an Episcopalian, always said it was a good thing Catherine Winkworth was an ugly old maid - or perhaps The Lutheran Hymnal and others may have missed out on so many wonderful old German hymns. :)