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SILENT NIGHT. JOSEPH MOHR. Born 1792 in Salzburg, Austria to an unwed mother Because of his situation, his prospects in life were dim Mohr was adopted as a godson by Franz Joseph Wohlmuth, a wealthy Salzburg citizen. He was also the town’s executioner. Unforeseen Problem.

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joseph mohr
  • Born 1792 in Salzburg, Austria to an unwed mother
  • Because of his situation, his prospects in life were dim
  • Mohr was adopted as a godson by Franz Joseph Wohlmuth, a wealthy Salzburg citizen. He was also the town’s executioner
unforeseen problem
Unforeseen Problem
  • But Joseph's life now bore another stigma: He was godson of Salzburg’s feared and hated executioner, Franz Joseph Wohlmuth.
  • Because of that, he was banned from attending school, learning a trade, or even from holding a job.

But God Had A PlanMohr loved to sing. While playing on steps leading up to a Capuchin monastery, he was overheard singing by a Benedictine cathedral choirmaster. He thought the boy's voice so good, he could not bear to see it wasted. He arranged for Mohr to study with his elite group of students.


Mohr mastered the organ, violin and guitar by the time he was twelve. He was ordained a priest in 1815 and sent to his first parish in Mariapfarr.It was here that Mohr penned the words to "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!,


Silent night! Holy night!

All’s asleep, one sole light,

Just the faithful and holy pair,

Lovely boy-child with curly hair,

Sleep in heavenly peace!

Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night! Holy night!

God’s Son laughs, o how bright.

Love from your holy lips shines clear,

As the dawn of salvation draws near,

Jesus, Lord, with your birth!

Jesus, Lord, with your birth!

Silent night! Holy night!

Brought the world peace tonight,

From the heavens’ golden height

Shows the grace of His holy might

Jesus, as man on this earth!

Jesus, as man on this earth!

Silent night! holy night!

Where today all the might

Of His fatherly love us graced

And then Jesus, as brother embraced.

All the peoples on earth!

All the peoples on earth!

franz xavier gruber
Franz Xavier Gruber
  • In 1818, Mohr was transferred to Oberndorf, Austria, where he would meet musician-schoolteacher Franz Gruber
  • On December 24, 1818 Joseph Mohr journeyed to the home of Franz Gruber who lived in nearby Arnsdorf, Austria. .
  • That night, “Silent Night’ was first sung in public in Oberndorf
traveling man
Traveling Man
  • In October 1819, Mohr left Oberndorf for Kuchl.
  • Within nine years he moved through eleven parishes, Golling, Vigaun, Hallein, Krispl, Adnet, Anthering, Koppl, Anthering again, Eugendorf and Hof.
  • Mohr eventually made his way to Wagrain, Austria, his final parish
karl mauracher
Karl Mauracher
  • Mauracher was a traveling organ repair man
  • While doing work in St. Nicholas, Austria,in 1820 he obtained a copy of the composition and took it home with him.
  • Thus, “Silent Night” began its journey around the world
silent night thrills audiences

“Silent Night” Thrills Audiences

Two traveling groups of folk singers, the Strasser and Ranier families, incorporated the song into their repertoire.

The Strassers sang the song in a concert in Leipzig in December 1832. It was during this period, several musical notes were changed, and the carol evolved into the melody we know today.

silent night goes royal

“Silent Night” Goes Royal

The Rainer Family sang the Christmas carol before an audience which included Emperor Franz I of Austria and Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Emperor Franz was so impressed with the song that sent an emissary on a quest to find the identity of the unknown author

silent night goes international

“Silent Night” Goes International

In the year 1839, the Rainers performed an English "Stille Nacht" for the first time in America, at the Alexander Hamilton Monument outside Trinity Church in New York City.

mohr s final years
Mohr’s Final Years
  • In Wagrain, Mohr opened a school which took in poor children.
  • He gave virtually his entire income to this project and died as poor as he was born.
  • Mohr died penniless on December 4,1848
  • But he left us the riches of "Silent Night" which has been translated into 142 languages and 58 “alternative” languages
klingon version
wa’ ram tam ram Dun Hoch jot Hoch wov Sos’a’Daq je puq’a’Daq roj ghaj ghu Dun ‘ej tam yIQong ‘ej roj jot yIghaj yIQong ‘ej roj jot yIghajcha’ ram ram ram Dun bejvIp wIjwI’pu’ chalvo’ ghoS yoqpu’ Dun leluya jath chal yoqpu’ bogh le’wI’ toDwI’ bogh le’wI’ toDwI’

wej ram tam ram Dun ghoDev Hov wov loDpu’ val tIlegh ta’ma’vaD nobmey nob chaH naDev toDwI’ le’wI’ naDev toDwI’ jIySusloS ram tam ram Dun yIwov Hov Dun voDleHvaD aleluya wIjatlh chal yoqpu’ je maH naDev toDwI’ le’wI’