The Genevan Psalter in Germany

Soon after the Genevean Psalter was brought out in the French language (1562) , people began to translate it.

In 1573 Ambrosius Lobwasser (a Lutheran!)  gave out the translation of the psalms from the french language with the tunes of the Psalter (150 Psalms & 125 tune). This book was for 200 years the  psalmbook in the reformed Churches in Germany and Switzerland. 30 of this Lobwasser – psalms are still in use in the hymnbook of the Amish people in North America!  They brought it to the New World from Switzerland and South Germany. It is a part of the “Unpartheyisches Gesangbuch” from 1814 in use.

In 1793 (1798)  the German pastor in Den Haag (Netherlands) Matthias Jorissen brought out a new translation of the  Psalms of David, die “Neue Bereimung der Psalmen Davids”. This was the official  book for singing in the German reformed Churches.

After 1820 most reformed churches introduced the singing of hymns, but remained in singing the psalms too. After Second world war these churches introduced a new hymnbook with the complete psalter in the first part. The same happened in the 1996 with the  “Evangelisches Gesangbuch”, what is still in use. Most of the psalms are made by Matthias Jorissen.

This Hymnbook with the complete Genevan Psalms is used in the “Evangelical reformed Church” which has 180 000 Members and the “Old Reformed Church” with 9 000 Members.

Seven years ago we brought out he Psalter of Matthias Jorissen as a special book. We have made the second edition last year. This book is used in many congregations in other parts of Germany with a Huguenot Tradition.

The whole Psalter is used in other countries in Europe …

  • Mostly in the Dutch churches
  • In Tschechie Churches of the Bohemian Brethren
  • In the Hungarian Reformed Churches
  • Japan Reformed Churches
  • Indonesia

Last year we made a journey on the footsteps of the psalm singing Churches in the Netherlands. This church is a new church of the “Gereformeerde Gemeente in Nederland” in Barneveld with 3 100 seats and two services  every Lord’s Day. They sing the Genevan Psalms  on four parts with an organ. You can hear dutch psalmsinging on youtube  “psalmen met bovenstem”  and “ Psalmen singen in St. Marien zu Lübeck”  – this happened last year in the main Church of Lübeck with Dutch visitors.

The above information was contributed by the Reverend Michael Lohrer of LÜBECK, Germany. Thank you Pastor Lohrer!

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