I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
- Jul 19, 2004
- Out of Bounds
Allegedly How Great Thou Art was adapted from a Russian Orthodox prayer or incantation by an American missionary in Ukraine in the early 1930s. I tend to find this a little hard to believe, because the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic was not a welcoming place to be for Ukrainians at that time, let alone American missionaries. I realise this is something of a niche obsession, but if anyone can shed further light on the matter, I'd be grateful.
That sounds like the storyline for the second English translation of the lyrics / poem - that of Stuart Kine. He supposedly first heard the hymn as the Russian translation of the German translation of the original Swedish hymn (from the 1880's) in Ukraine in 1931.
Hine subsequently reworked the lyrics into the 'How Great Thou Art' form most widely known today, though a few passages were subsequently revised to create the Manna Music version that would become a hit via its heavy usage in the Billy Graham campaigns in the 1950's.