The Passion-hymns selected on Iceland's National Register for UNESCO‘s Memory of the World Programme

On the 8th of March Hallgrímur Pétursson´s manuscript of the Passion-hymns was selected on Iceland's National Register for UNESCO‘s Memory of the World Programme. The manuscript is conserved in the manuscript collection of the National and University Library of Iceland and is a part of Jón Sigurðsson´s collection (JS 337 4to). Hallgrímur wrote the manuscript in 1659 and sent it to Ragnheiður Brynjólfsdóttir in 1661. The hymns were published in print five years later, 1666, along with hymns by rev. Guðmundur Erlendsson. Hallgrímur wrote several versions of the passion-hymns but the Library´s copy is the only one that has survived. The manuscript came into Jón Sigurðsson´s ownership in 1856 and then in possession of the National Library´s after he died in 1879.

The passion-hymns are considered to surpass other Icelandic hymns as far as interpretation, structure and style is concerned and have been very well received by the nation through the ages. They have been published in over ninety editions, for example in a high quality edition by the National and University Library in 1996.

To commemorate this a small exhibition has been set up in the Icelandic collection where the UNESCO certificate is on display along with a copy of the manuscript and a few versions of the Passion-hymns.

The manuscript has been catalogued and photocopied and is accessible on handrit.is .

Four works were accepted on Iceland´s National Register in the Memory of the World Programme, as published on the website of the Ministry of Education.

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