Behind the Hymn: Christ is the world’s redeemer

Christ is the world’s redeemer is attributed to St. Columba, an Irish abbot, born in 521. He is credited with spreading Christianity through what is today Scotland. He is highly regarded among the Gaels and Picts and is considered one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. Around 563, he and twelve companions sailed to Ionia, Scotland where they founded a new abbey. Three surviving early Medieval Latin hymns are attributed to him and it is said he transcribed 300 books. He turned his monastery into a school for missionaries and founded several other churches. He died in AD 597 and is buried in the monastery he founded in Iona. After the Vikings invasion in AD 794, his remains were removed and divided between Ireland and Scotland.

remains of St. Columba’s church

Duncan MacGregor translated the hymn into English. MacGregor was born in 1854 in Fort Augustus, Scotland. He worked as a missionary and became an ordained minister. He is remembered as a Gaelic scholar, liturgiologist, and poet. He died in 1923.

The tune is called Moville and the same used for All Hail the Power of Jesus and At the Name of Jesus.

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