Heermann, Johann


b Raudten, Silesia 1585, d Lissa, Possen 1647. Born in poverty, he was his parents’ 5th and only surviving child whose mother vowed that he would be dedicated to God if he lived. After schooling and college at Wohlau, Fraustadt, Breslau and Brieg, and assisted by several gifts, he also earned money as a private tutor in order to pay his fees at the Univ of Strasbourg. Poor eyesight compelled him to return home, but after some school-teaching posts he was accepted for the Lutheran ministry and pastored the church at Köben from 1611 onwards, with the Thirty Years War as its background. Here he was four times robbed, losing most of his possessions at least twice, usually in danger and often coming close to death. His eyes continued to give trouble, but it was an illness of the throat which brought his preaching to an end in 1634. He was regarded in his day as second only to Paulus Gerhardt (qv) as a hymnwriter, leaning towards a devotional and personal mode of expression in his 400-odd hymns. 10 of these, some substantial, are translated in the N American Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), 6 of the English versions being by Catherine Winkworth. No.412.

Hymns and songs by Heermann, Johann

Number Hymn Name
412 Ah, holy Jesus, how have you offended