Updated: Jan 16, 2020
Touching the hearts of the Icelandic people
The Hymns of the Passion by Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-1674) have been loved by the Icelanders more than any other literary work. They have been published in almost 100 editions and translated into various languages.
These fifty meditations on the sufferings of Christ have touched the hearts of the people by their spiritual depth and command of language, simplicity and wisdom. They are admired and enjoyed regardless of religious and philosophical outlooks.
In the Hymns of the Passion we find the first prayers children learn and words of comfort in the face of suffering and death. To this day composers and other artists seek inspiration in the Hymns. For many they are still a source of consolation, strength and guidance.
The original manuscript in the poet’s own hand is kept in The National Library of Iceland and is listed in Unesco’s Memory of the World Register for Iceland.
Hallgrímur Pétursson – Life and Legacy
In his introduction Bishop Emeritus Karl Sigurbjörnsson outlines the role of Hallgrímur Pétursson in the history of Icelandic spirituality and culture. He highlights, among other things, the extraordinary life story of Hallgrímur and his wife Guðríður Símonardóttir.
Gracia Grindal has a master’s degree in theology and history and is a prolific writer and poet. In addition to her work as a professor at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, she has published numerous books on hymnody, women’s biographies as well as her own poems. Her hymns and translations are found in many hymnbooks of several churches in America, and her poems and hymns have also been published. In her teaching and writings she has stressed the importance of seeing our own stories from within the context of the biblical story and how this is conveyed in hymns. As is indeed evident in Hallgrímur Pétursson’s Hymns of the Passion.
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Publisher: Skalholt Publishing, Reykjavik, Iceland and Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík.