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Sigismund von Birken (Hymn-Writer)

Born: May 5, 1626 - Wildstein, Bohemia, Germany
Died: June 12, 1681

Sigismund von Birken was the son of Daniel Betulius or Birken, pastor of Wildstein, Bohemia. In 1629 his father along with other evangelical pastors was forced to flee from Bohemia and went to Nürnberg. After passing through the Egidien-Gymnasium at Nürnberg Sigismund entered the University of Jena, 1643, and there studied both law and theology, the latter at his father’s dying request. Before completing his course in either he returned to Nürnberg in 1645 and on account of his poetical gifts was there admitted as a member of the Pegnitz Shepherd and Flower Order.

At the close of 1645 Sigismund von Birken was appointed tutor at Wolfenbüttel to the princes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, but after a year (during which he was crowned as a poet), he resigned this post. After a tour, during which he was admitted by Philipp von Zesen as a member of the German Society (or Patriotic Union), he returned to Nürnberg in 1648 and was employed as a private tutor. In 1654 he was ennobled on account of his poetic gifts by the Emperor Ferdinand III, was admitted in 1658 as a member of the Fruitbearing Society, and on the death of Harsdörffer in 1662 became Chief Shepherd of the Pegnitz Order, to which he imparted a distinctly religious cast.

Sigismund von Birken wrote 52 hymns, not many of which have retained a lasting place among the hymns of the Church.


Source: BCL Website [Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal]
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2003)

Texts of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

BWV 481

Chorale Texts used in Bach’s Vocal Works





Lasset uns mit Jesu ziehen



Links to other Sites

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook - Biographies and Sources (BCL)




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