The Church of St. Nicholas is Berlin’s oldest building. It originated in 1230, when the city was founded.

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Two of Nikolai’s most famous staff were Pastor Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) and Kantor Johann Crüger (1598-1662). They were an unbeatable team of hymn writers. Paul wrote text and John wrote lyrics. Like the Beatles, but not really.

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For example, “Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow,” was written by them. Both attended the University of Wittenberg. The cantor preceded the pastor at Nicolai.

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They also wrote separately. The music for “Now Thank We All Our God,” was written by Johann Crüger, the text by Martin Rinkart.

These hymns became so popular in Lutheran, Reformed and Catholic circles, dozens are still sung today. Bach used many of these hymns in his works. Here are some Paul Gerhardt hymns that Bach used (compliments of Wikipedia) and others:

“Auf, auf, mein Herz, mit Freuden nimm wahr, was heut geschicht”, Easter, EG 112
“Barmherzger Vater, höchster Gott”, BWV 103
“Befiehl du deine Wege (de)”, based on Psalm 37, EG 361, BWV 244, BWV 153
“Die güldne Sonne”, EG 449
“Du meine Seele singe”, EG 302
“Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld”, Passion, EG 83
“Fröhlich soll mein Herze springen”, Christmas, EG 36
“Geh aus, mein Herz, und suche Freud (de)”, EG 503
“Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist”, BWV 74, BWV 108
“Herr, mein Hirt, Brunn aller Freuden!”, BWV 228
“Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn”, chorale cantata BWV 92, BWV 65
“Ich singe dir mit Herz und Mund”, EG 324
“Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier (de)”, Christmas, EG 37, BWV 243
“Ist Gott für mich, so trete”, “If Jesus be my friend” (1855 by Catherine Winkworth), EG 351
“Kommt und laßt uns Christum ehren (de)”, Christmas, EG 39
“Lobet den Herren alle, die ihn ehren”, EG 447, GL 671
“Nun danket all und bringet Ehr”, EG 322, GL 267
“Nun lasst uns gehn und treten (de), New Year, EG 58
“Nun ruhen alle Wälder (de), EG 477[1]
“O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden”, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”, Passion, EG 85, GL 179, BWV 244, BWV 159
“O Welt, sieh hier dein Leben”, Passion, EG 84, BWV 245, BWV 244
“Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott”, BWV 40
“Sollt ich meinem Gott nicht singen”, EG 325
“Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe”, EG 446
“Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen?”, EG 370
“Was alle Weisheit in der Welt”, BWV 176
“Weg, mein Herz, mit den Gedanken”, BWV 32
“Wie soll ich dich empfangen (de)”, Advent, EG 11, BWV 243
“Zeuch ein zu deinen Toren”, Pentecost, EG 133, BWV 183

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