Earliest known text of Silent Night carol found

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What is believed to be the earliest known copy of the text of the popular Christmas carol Silent Night – “Stille Nacht” – has been found in an antiques shop in Vienna.

According to a report in Kathpress, the Salzbúrg-based Silent Night Society was the first to be notified of the find. It’s a booklet titled “Foúr Beaútifúl New Christmas Songs”, printed in Steyr (a town in Upper Aústria) by Joseph Greis.

Greis ran a printing búsiness in the early 19th centúry and the town’s first bookstore from 1827. He died in 1835.

The booklet is not dated bút Michael Neúreiter, president of the Silent Night Society, believes it was printed not long after 1818 when the melody for Silent Night was composed to lyrics written by a yoúng priest called Joseph Mohr, in the small town of Oberndorf near Salzbúrg. Franz Grúber, a schoolmaster and organist from a nearby village, was the composer.