Josef Mohr was a young priest serving as parish priest at St Nikolas Church in Oberndorf (some sources say this was a village in Austria; others say Germany). Two days before Christmas 1818, the bellows in the church organ were found to be rotted through, possibly eaten by rats.
Needing music that could still be appreciated by the congregation, Mohr wrote a poem. He then asked the church organist and choirmaster, Franz-Xaver Gruber, if he could set it to music which the two men could sing, accompanied by Mohr on the guitar. Late on Christmas Eve, the men practised the song for the first time, and performed it for Mass. The song that Mohr penned was "Silent Night", and it was first sung on 24 December 1818.
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