Philipp Nicolai


Philipp Nicolai Famous memorial

Bad Arolsen, Landkreis Waldeck-Frankenberg, Hessen, Germany
Death 26 Oct 1608 (aged 52)
Hamburg-Altstadt, Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg, Germany
Burial Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg, Germany
Memorial ID 6690985 View Source

Composer. He was born at Megeringhausen, in Walderk, Hessen, Germany, the son of a Lutheran pastor. In 1575, he entered the University of Erfurt and in 1576 he went to the University of Wittenberg, graduating in 1579. For the next four years he lived at Volkhardinghausen, near where he was born, and frequently preached with his father. In August, 1583, he was appointed the Lutheran pastor at Herdecke, Germany, but left in April 1586 when Spanish forces invaded and his colleague reintroduced the Roman Catholic Mass. In late 1586, he was appointed a deacon at Niederwildugen, near Waldeck, and became the pastor there in 1587. In November 1588, he became the chief pastor at Altwildungen and the Court Preacher to the Countess Margaretha of Waldeck. A disagreement with the Calvinists in 1592 over the meaning of the Lord's Supper resulted in his removal as the Court Pastor. In 1596, he went to Unna in Westphalia, where he was once again involved with controversy with the Calvinists. The City of Unna fell victim to the bubonic plague in 1597 through 1598, and over 1,300 of its inhabitants died. In December 1598, he was forced to flee before the invasion of the Spanish and did not return until 1599. With the bubonic plague death scenes weighing heavily on his mind, he turned to the study of Saint Augustine's "City of God" which influenced him to write a series of meditations entitled "Joyful Mirror of the Eternal Life." From those meditations came his two most popular chorales, "Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying" and "How Bright Appears the Morning Star," to which he wrote the words and the music (the arrangements of these chorales we know today were done by Johann Sebastian Bach). These two hymns are commonly referred to as King and Queen of chorales. In April 1601, he was chosen as chief pastor of Saint Katherine's Church in Hamburg, Germany, which he held until his death. He is commemorated as a hymnwriter in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on October 26, along with Johann Heermann and Paul Gerhardt.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Cinnamonntoast4
  • Added: 17 Aug 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 6690985
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Philipp Nicolai (10 Aug 1556–26 Oct 1608), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6690985, citing Hauptkirche Sankt Katharinen, Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg, Germany ; Maintained by Find a Grave .