National Hymn: God Of Our Fathers

Rev. Roberts
Rev. Roberts

Many are familiar with the National Anthem of the United States of America, however did you know there is also a National Hymn?

Daniel C. Roberts (1841–1907) was a 35 year-old rector of a rural Episcopalian church in Brandon, Vermont when he wrote the text to the hymn “God Of Our Fathers”. He did this as a gift for his congregation to sing in celebration of the American Centennial of 1876. The original tune used was (ironically) entitled RUSSIAN HYMN.

In 1892, the Episcopal General Commission approved the hymn as a submission, and printed it anonymously in its annual report. At that time, Rev. Dr. Tucker, who was the editor of the Hymnal, and George W. Warren, an organist in New York City, were commissioned to choose a hymn for the celebration of the Centennial of the United States Constitution. They chose Rev. Robert’s text and Rev. Warren wrote a new tune for it, which he titled NATIONAL HYMN. This new arrangement included a bold trumpet fanfare, which has remained a standard.

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 63:30

“God of Our Fathers Whose Almighty Hand” was first published in Tucker’s Hymnal, in 1892. And then reprinted in 1894 in the Tucker and Rosseau’s Hymnal, Revised and Enlarged. It was included in the Latter-day Saint Hymnal in the late 1800’s, and has become a beloved standard of Mormon repertoire, listed as Hymn #78. This hymn is often viewed by members of the LDS faith as an anthem of their triumph over persecution, as well as gratitude to God for their opportunity to thrive in America, and spread their message throughout the world. Hat tip to frarozu for creating this lovely music video.


  1. Thank you, thank you! I’m the RS Chorister for our ward and this is just the information I needed for this week’s “stories behind the hymns” presentation.


  2. Here is another arrangement of God of our Fathers that you might like. It incorporates both the “Russian Hymn” and the familiar tune. I recently conducted it at BYU-Idaho with tenor Stanford Olsen.


  3. I see you have Daniel Roberts picture in the page. If you will send me the email address, I will send you a copy of the official faculty picture of George William Warren that appeared in the 1902 Columbia University Quarterly announcing his passing.


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