1672–1737

Introduction

portrait

Born: De­cem­ber 21, 1672, Brauch­itzch­dorf, Si­le­sia (now Chróst­nik, Po­land).

Died: Feb­ru­a­ry 12, 1737, Schweid­nitz, Si­le­sia (now Świd­ni­ca, Po­land) (his wed­ding an­ni­ver­sary).

Biography

Schmolck en­tered the Gym­na­si­um at Lau­ban (now Lu­bań, Po­land) in 1688, and spent five years there.

After re­turn­ing home, he preached for his fa­ther a ser­mon which so struck a lo­cal pa­tron so that he gave Schmolck a three year schol­ar­ship to stu­dy the­o­lo­gy. He ma­tri­cu­lat­ed at Mi­chael­mas, 1693, at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Leip­zig.

There he was in­flu­enced by Jo­hann Ole­a­ri­us, J. P. Carp­zov and oth­ers. Through­out his life, he re­tained the char­ac­ter of their teach­ing.

In his last year there, he sup­port­ed him­self main­ly by writ­ing oc­ca­sion­al po­ems for weal­thy ci­ti­zens, for which he was al­so crowned as a po­et.

In au­tumn 1697, af­ter com­plet­ing his stu­dies at Leip­zig, he re­turned to Brauch­itzch­dorf to help his fa­ther. In 1701, he was or­dained as his as­sist­ant.

On February 12, 1702, he mar­ried An­na Ro­si­na, daugh­ter of Chris­toph Reh­wald, a mer­chant in Lau­ban. At the end of that year he was ap­point­ed di­a­co­nus of the Fried­ens­kirche (Pro­test­ant church) in Schweid­nitz, one of the three Fried­ens­kirch­en in Ca­tho­lic Si­le­sia.

As a re­sult of the Coun­ter-Re­for­ma­tion, church­es in the prin­ci­pa­li­ty of Schweid­nitz had been tak­en from the Lu­ther­ans, and for the whole dis­trict, the 1648 Peace of West­phal­ia al­lowed on­ly one church (and that on­ly of timber and clay, with­out tower or bells), which the Lu­ther­ans had to build at Schweid­nitz out­side the town walls.

The three cler­gy at­tached to this church had to min­is­ter to a po­pu­la­tion scat­tered ov­er 36 vil­lag­es, and were ham­pered by ma­ny re­strict­ions (e.g., be­ing un­a­ble to com­mu­ni­cate with a sick per­son with­out a per­mit from the lo­cal Ro­man Ca­tho­lic priest).

Here Schmolck stayed the rest of his life, be­com­ing in 1708 arch­di­a­co­nus, in 1712 sen­ior, and in 1714 pas­tor pri­mar­i­us and in­spect­or.

He suf­fered a par­a­lyz­ing stroke on Lae­tare (Mid-Lent) Sun­day, 1730, which for a time laid him up al­to­ge­ther, and af­ter which he ne­ver re­covered the use of his right hand.

For five more years he was still able to of­fi­ci­ate, preach­ing for the last time on a Fast­day in 1735.

Two more strokes fol­lowed, then a ca­ta­ract, re­lieved for a time by an op­er­a­tion, but re­turn­ing again in­cur­a­bly. For the last months of his life he was con­fined to bed.

Works

Schmolck was the most po­pu­lar Ger­man hymn writ­er of his time, and was hailed as the Si­le­sian Rist, the se­cond Ger­hardt, and the like. In ad­di­tion to can­ta­tas, oc­ca­sion­al piec­es for wed­dings, fu­ner­als, etc. he wrote some 900 hymns.

These were penned for all sorts of oc­ca­sions, and range ov­er the whole field of church, fa­mi­ly, and in­di­vi­du­al life. These came ve­ry soon in­to ex­ten­sive use, not on­ly in Si­le­sia, but all ov­er Ger­ma­ny.

Sources

Lyrics

Help Needed

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