Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem image

Of all the songs ever written, the simple ones can be some of the best. "Dona Nobis Pacem," which means 'Grant Us Peace,' is one such song. The songs's simple but powerful message is still very relevant in today's world.

The origin of the song is not definitively known. It is sometimes attributed to Mozart but the source is usually listed as "Traditional" in most musical texts. While it is a beautiful piece, from an academic standpoint it is not very well written. This likely means that the hymn has its origins in folk music. Our best guess is that it is an old Christmas song written in the 16th or 17th century by an unknown composer in Germany. It has long since been widely used in several other European countries.

Today it is present in many church hymnals and a portion of the Agnus Dei from the Roman Catholic Mass. It is usually sung around Christmas time due to its message of peace.

Dona Nobis Pacem from Methodist Hymnal Dona Nobis Pacem. Photo Credit: The United Methodist Hymnal

Originally published
Researched and Written by: Thomas Acreman

  The United Methodist Hymnal
   from the Catholic Encyclopedia 1907
   from the Westmenster Presbyterian Church, Dayton, Ohio

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Dona Nobis Pacem

  • Frans Pennings
    Years ago we sang with a quire the song Dona Nobis. During that song I had to sing English text. The words were if I rember well If I had word... Do you happen to know where I can find this version of Dona Nobis. Gr, Frans Pennings Cuijk. Holland.
  • Wake
    Frans, If you are wanting to download the version on this page you should try this link below. They have three versions of the song there. If you are looking for a version of the text in another language please let me know and I will make a page with the text in that language for you.
  • john v plante
    If this is in reference to the Mozart traditional Dona Nobis Pacem that is commonly featured many times on U Tube etc, The one with 5 verses each of different melody. why can it not be found as a recording, cd or whatever for sale, anywhere. Do you know a source? John P. Thank you.
  • Anonymous
  • Margaret
    I live in a retirement village and am aged 80. Eight of us, with the aid of one who was a music teacher, are trying to learn Dona Nobis Pacem to sing at our village's annual variety concert - without an accompanist! Please wish us luck! :)
  • John
    Good luck Margaret. Our Men's choir in Sydney sang another (non-Mozart) version of Pacem. Halfway through, we froze, and only slowly found our peace.
  • Margaret
    Thank you, John. Hope we don't freeze, but then it's warmer up here in Brisbane. :)
  • Wake
    Good luck to you Margaret! Post a link to your performance if at all possible. This is a beautiful song and every rendition is unique.
  • 1. Snobbish attitude towards "folk Music) 2. Peace is welcomed all the year round, not only at Christmastime.
  • Wake
    More like a distain for what is called "academic." I agree but the point still stands that it is sung more often around Christmastime.
  • Joan G
    Thank you for providing this service! My husband and I are doing a concert at a retirement home tomorrow (voice and Ukrainian bandura) with a mixture of Ukrainian and other music,and I couldn't locate the sheet music to check what to say about this song's origins in the introduction. I typed Dona Nobis Pacem into Google, and boom, there was your article with exactly what I needed! 16th-17th century unknown German composer.
  • Ron
    Bach's "Dona Nobis Pacem" in his great B minor mass is as beautiful as music or man can get.
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