Christ the Lord is risen again!

Christ the Lord is risen again!
Christ hath broken every chain!
Hark, the angels shout for joy,
Singing evermore on high:

Christus ist erstanden Von des Todesbanden first appeared in Ein new Gesangbüchlein (1531), the first hymn book of the Bohemian Brethren, later known as the Moravians, edited by Michael Weisse (1480-1534). It is believed to have been inspired by one of the earliest vernacular German hymns, Christ ist erstanden Von der Marter alle from the 12th century. Weisse was a priest, and later a monk at Breslau. Upon reading Luther's early writings he left his monastery and (on behalf of the Moravians) undertook missions to Luther in 1522 and 1524 to explain their views. He was described by Luther as being a good poet with somewhat erroneous views on the sacrament. The translation by Catherine Winkworth (1827-78) was first published in her Lyra Germanica (second series, 1858) and her The Chorale Book for England (1863). In the Winkworth translation the original German Alleluias were omitted.

The hymn has many biblical references:

  • Verse 1: Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6, Nahum 1:13, Revelation 19:1
  • Verse 2: Hebrews 12:2, John 1:29, Revelation 19:1
  • Verse 3: Hebrews 7:25, Isaiah 53:4, Romans 8:27
  • Verse 5: Philippians 2:8-9, Acts 2:33, Revelation 19:16
  • Verse 6: Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 18:3, Matthew 28:18-20

Tune - Würtemberg

The tune Würtemberg was first published in Hundert ahnmuthig und sonderbar geistlicher Arien (Dresden, 1694). It was set to the text Straf' mich nicht in deinem Zorn and the melody was used by J.S. Bach in his Cantata 115. The present version of the tune (by W.H. Monk) first appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) and has remained essentially the same to this day.

Nigel Day
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 5th July 1997