Johann Heermann

1585-1647. Silesian hymnwriter. Son of a furrier, he was dedicated by his mother to the ministry in early childhood. After studying at Fraustadt, Breslau, and Brieg and holding various teaching posts, he became in 1611 pastor of Köben an der Oder. He suffered during the Thirty Years' War, and in 1634 had to give up preaching, at which he excelled. His health was always poor. His 400 hymns, many inspired by suffering and many still sung in Germany, are ranked by some as second only to those of Gerhardt.* Although many exist in English, only two are commonly used: “Ah, holy Jesu, how hast thou offended” (Bridges), and “O Christ, our true and only Light” (Winkworth).