200 years ago, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber met in Oberndorf. Mohr was born in Salzburg in 1792 and ordained a priest here. In 1815, he was appointed as a curate in Mariapfarr. Here, in 1816, he wrote the poem Silent Night. 1816 was a hard year for Salzburg.
Salzburg had lost its independence. The year without summer brought crises and famine. The words of the carol were created under this impression; they express a longing for redemption and peace. In 1817, Mohr was moved to Oberndorf on the river Salzach. Gruber was born in 1787 in Hochburg in the Innviertel, Upper Austria; he was a teacher in Arnsdorf close by and played the organ in the Oberndorf church.
For a short time, the careers of the two men crossed in Oberndorf. Here, Gruber composed the music to the poem on 24 December 1818 for Christmas Eve in the church of St Nicholas. Mohr and Gruber performed the carol themselves. Today it is sung throughout the world at Christmas. It has been translated into countless languages.