Hymn #50: I Sing the Praise of Love Almighty

            Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769) wrote this text in 1757 as part of a longer poem.  However, it was not used as a hymn until adapted for the 1825 Choralbuch by Johannes Gossner, who selected only those stanzas that focused primarily on Christ.

            Gerhard Tersteegen is recognized as one of the most significant hymnwriters of the German Reformed Church, although he exercised his devotion most notably in prayer circles and in an ascetic lifestyle.  Tersteegen wrote more than one hundred hymns; two of them appear in The New Century Hymnal.

            Dimitri S. Bortniansky (1752-1825) may have included the melody for ST. PETERSBURG in a mass he composed in 1822.  The tune was subsequently published with Tersteegen’s German text in I. H. Tscherlitsky’s Choralbuch, published in Moscow in 1825.

           Dimitri S. Bortniansky was born October 28, 1752, at Gloukoff, Ukraine.  He studied in Bologna, Rome, and Maples, Italy, before returning to his homeland in 1779.  Bortniansky excelled at operatic composition and was widely appreciated for his work.  He died September 28, 1825, at St. Petersburg, Russia.