Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italian Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval and Early Modern upper class of Europe. It includes words from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin (as well as Greek and Hebrew) re-purposed with Christian meaning. It is less stylized and rigid in form than Classical Latin, sharing vocabulary, forms, and syntax, while at the same time incorporating informal elements which had always been with the language but which were excluded by the literary authors of classical Latin. Its pronunciation is based on Italian.
Ecclesiastical Latin was the language of liturgical rites in the Catholic Church, as well as the Anglican Church, Lutheran Church, Methodist Church, and in the Western Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Today, ecclesiastical Latin is primarily used in official documents of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is still learned by clergy. 
The Ecclesiastical Latin that is used in theological works, liturgical rites and dogmatic proclamations varies in style: syntactically simple in the Vulgate Bible, hieratic in the Roman Canon of the Mass, terse and technical in Aquinas' Summa Theologica and Ciceronian in Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter Fides et Ratio.
|Church Latin, Liturgical Latin|
|Native to||Never spoken as a native language; other uses vary widely by period and location|
|Extinct||Still used for many purposes, mostly as a liturgical language of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Churches, Lutheran Churches, and Methodist Churches. Also used in the Western Orthodox Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church.|
Official language in
The use of Latin in the Church started in the fourth century with the split of the Roman Empire after Emperor Theodosius in 395. Before this split, Greek was the primary language of the Church as well as the language of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Following the split, early theologians like Jerome translated Greek and Hebrew texts into Latin, the dominant language of the Western Roman Empire. The loss of Greek in the Western half of the Roman Empire, and the loss of Latin in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire were not immediate, but changed the culture of language as well as the development of the Church. What especially differentiates Ecclesiastical Latin from Classical Latin is its utility as a language for translating, since it borrows and assimilates constructions and borrows vocabulary from the koine Greek, while adapting the meanings of some Latin words to those of the koine Greek originals, which are sometimes themselves translations of Hebrew originals.
The use of Latin in the Western Church continued throughout the Middle Ages and into the time of the Reformation. One of Martin Luther's tenets of the Reformation was to have services and religious texts in the common tongue, rather than Latin, a language that at the time, only clergy understood. Protestants refrained from using Latin in services, however Protestant clergy had to learn and understand Latin as it was the language of higher learning and theological thought until the eighteenth century. After the Reformation, in the Lutheran Churches, Latin was retained as the language of the Mass for weekdays, although for the Sunday Sabbath, the Deutsche Messe was to be said. In Geneva, among the Reformed Churches, "persons called before the consistory to prove their faith answered by reciting the Paternoster, the Ave Maria, and the Credo in Latin." In the Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer was published in Latin, alongside English. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Churches, "used Latin text in doctrinal writings", as Martin Luther and John Calvin did in their era. In the training of Protestant clergy in Württemberg, as well as in the Rhineland, universities instructed divinity students in Latin and their examinations were conducted in this language. The University of Montauban under Reformed auspcices, required that seminarians complete two theses, with one being in Latin and as such, Reformed ministers were "Latinist by training", comparable to Roman Catholic seminarians.
Ecclesiastical Latin continues to be the official language of the Roman Catholic Church. The Council decided to allow languages other than Latin to be used in Mass in order to relate the Church and its values to modern culture. However, the Church still produces its official liturgical texts in Latin, which provide a single clear point of reference for translations into all other languages. The same holds for the official texts of canon law and many other doctrinal and pastoral communications and directives of the Holy See, such as encyclical letters, motu proprios, and declarations ex cathedra.
The Holy See has for some centuries usually drafted documents in a modern language, but the authoritative text, published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, is usually in Latin. Some texts may be published initially in a modern language and be later revised, according to a Latin version (or “editio typica”), after this Latin version is published. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church was drafted and published, in 1992, in French. The Latin text appeared only five years later, in 1997, and the French text was corrected to match the Latin version, which is regarded as the official text. The Latin-language department of the Vatican Secretariat of State (formerly the Secretaria brevium ad principes et epistolarum latinarum) is charged with the preparation in Latin of papal and curial documents. Occasionally the official text is published in a modern language, e.g., the well-known edict Tra le sollecitudini (1903) by Pope Pius X (in Italian) and Mit brennender Sorge (1937) by Pope Pius XI (in German).
The rule now in force on the use of Latin in the Eucharistic liturgy of the Roman Rite states Mass is celebrated either in Latin or in another language, provided that the liturgical texts used have been approved according to the norm of law. Except for celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.
There are not many differences between Classical Latin and Church Latin. One can understand Church Latin knowing the Latin of classical texts, as the main differences between the two are in pronunciation and spelling, as well as vocabulary.
In many countries, those who speak Latin for liturgical or other ecclesiastical purposes use the pronunciation that has become traditional in Rome by giving the letters the value they have in modern Italian but without distinguishing between open and close "E" and "O". "AE" and "OE" coalesce with "E"; before them and "I", "C" and "G" are pronounced /t͡ʃ/ (English "CH") and /d͡ʒ/ (English "J"), respectively. "TI" before a vowel is generally pronounced /tsi/ (unless preceded by "S", "T" or "X"). Such speakers pronounce consonantal "V" (not written as "U") as /v/ as in English, and double consonants are pronounced as such. The distinction in Classical Latin between long and short vowels is ignored, and instead of the 'macron', a horizontal line to mark the long vowel, an acute accent is used for stress. The first syllable of two-syllable words is stressed; in longer words, an acute accent is placed over the stressed vowel: adorémus 'let us adore'; Dómini 'of the Lord'.
The complete text of the Bible in Latin, the revised Vulgate, appears at Nova Vulgata - Bibliorum Sacrorum Editio. New Advent gives the entire Bible, in the Douay version, verse by verse, accompanied by the Vulgate Latin of each verse.
In 1976, the Latinitas Foundation (Opus Fundatum Latinitas in Latin) was established by Pope Paul VI to promote the study and use of Latin. Its headquarters are in Vatican City. The foundation publishes an eponymous quarterly in Latin. The foundation also published a 15,000-word Italian-Latin Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis (Dictionary of Recent Latin), which provides Latin coinages for modern concepts, such as a bicycle (birota), a cigarette (fistula nicotiana), a computer (instrumentum computatorium), a cowboy (armentarius), a motel (deversorium autocineticum), shampoo (capitilavium), a strike (operistitium), a terrorist (tromocrates), a trademark (ergasterii nota), an unemployed person (invite otiosus), a waltz (chorea Vindobonensis), and even a miniskirt (tunicula minima) and hot pants (brevissimae bracae femineae). Some 600 such terms extracted from the book appear on a page of the Vatican website. The Latinitas Foundation was superseded by the Pontifical Academy for Latin (Latin: Pontificia Academia Latinitatis) in 2012.
Latin remains the official language of the Holy See and the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Until the 1960s and still later in Roman colleges like the Gregorian, Roman Catholic priests studied theology using Latin textbooks and the language of instruction in many seminaries was also Latin, which was seen as the language of the Church Fathers. The use of Latin in pedagogy and in theological research, however, has since declined. Nevertheless, canon law requires for seminary formation to provide for a thorough training in Latin, though "the use of Latin in seminaries and pontifical universities has now dwindled to the point of extinction." Latin was still spoken in recent international gatherings of Roman Catholic leaders, such as the Second Vatican Council, and it is still used at conclaves to elect a new Pope. The Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 2004 was the most recent to have a Latin-language group for discussions.
Although Latin is the traditional liturgical language of the Roman (Latin) Church, the liturgical use of the vernacular has predominated since the liturgical reforms that followed the Vatican II: liturgical law for the Latin Church states that Mass may be celebrated either in Latin or another language in which the liturgical texts, translated from Latin, have been legitimately approved. The permission granted for continued use of the Tridentine Mass in its 1962 form authorizes use of the vernacular language in proclaiming the Scripture readings after they are first read in Latin.
The Second Vatican Council declared that the use of Latin was to be maintained the liturgy, though permission was granted for some use of the vernacular; in the outcome, the use of the vernacular has almost entirely triumphed, although the official books continue to be published in Latin. In the C of E the Latin versions of the Book of Common Prayer have never been widely used, though, for instance, John Wesley used Latin text in doctrinal writings. The option of using traditional Latin texts in sung worship has been retained by choirs in both the Anglican and Lutheran Churches.
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈalma redɛmpˈtoris ˈmatɛr]; English: Loving Mother of our Saviour) is a Marian hymn, written in Latin hexameter, and one of four seasonal liturgical Marian antiphons sung at the end of the office of Compline (the other three being Ave Regina cælorum, the Regina cœli and the Salve Regina).Cimabue
Cimabue (US: , Italian: [tʃimaˈbuːe], Ecclesiastical Latin: [tʃiˈmaːbu.e]; c. 1240 – 1302), also known as Cenni di Pepo or Cenni di Pepi, was an Italian painter and designer of mosaics from Florence.
Although heavily influenced by Byzantine models, Cimabue is generally regarded as one of the first great Italian painters to break from the Italo-Byzantine style. While medieval art then was scenes and forms that appeared relatively flat and highly stylized, Cimabue's figures were depicted with more-advanced lifelike proportions and shading than other artists of his time. According to Italian painter and historian Giorgio Vasari, Cimabue was the teacher of Giotto, the first great artist of the Italian Proto-Renaissance. However, many scholars today tend to discount Vasari's claim by citing earlier sources that suggest otherwise.Civitas Schinesghe
Civitas Schinesghe (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈt͡ʃiː.vi.tas skiˈnesɡʰ.e]) is the first recorded name related to Poland as a political entity (the name is a Latinization of hrady knezske or grody książęce, "ducal forts/oppidia") first attested in 991/2. The original deed is missing, but is mentioned in an 11th-century papal regesta called Dagome iudex. It states that the Piast duke wife Oda von Haldensleben had given the guidance of unam civitatem in integro, que vocatur Schinesghe ("a whole state, which is called Schinesghe") over to the Holy See.
Though a state of Poland is not explicitly mentioned, the name Schinesghe most likely refers to Gniezno, one of the main settlements of the West Slavic Polans. Their duke Mieszko had himself baptised upon his marriage to Princess Dobrawa of Bohemia in 965. In 1000 at the Congress of Gniezno the first Polish archdiocese was established and Mieszko's son Duke Bolesław I Chrobry was acknowledged as frater et cooperator of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Otto III.De vulgari eloquentia
De vulgari eloquentia (Ecclesiastical Latin: [de vulˈɡari eloˈkwentsi.a], Classical Latin: [deː wʊɫˈɡaːriː eːɫɔˈkᶣɛntsi.aː]; Italian: [de vulˈɡaːri eloˈkwɛntsja]; "On eloquence in the vernacular" (Italian: L'eloquenza in lingua volgare)) is the title of a Latin essay by Dante Alighieri. Although meant to consist of four books, its writing was abandoned in the middle of the second book. It was probably composed shortly after Dante went into exile; internal evidence points to a date between 1302 and 1305.
In the first book, Dante discusses the relationship between Latin and vernacular, and the search for an "illustrious" vernacular in the Italian area; the second book is an analysis of the structure of the canto or song (also spelled canzuni in Sicilian), which is a literary genre developed in the Sicilian School of poetry.
Latin essays were very popular in the Middle Ages, but Dante made some innovations in his work: firstly, the subject (writing in vernacular) was an uncommon topic in literary discussion at that time. Also significant was how Dante approached this theme; that is, he presented an argument for giving vernacular the same dignity and legitimacy Latin was typically given. Finally, Dante wrote this essay in order to analyse the origin and the philosophy of the vernacular, because, in his opinion, this language was not something static, but something that evolves and needed a historical contextualisation.Gaudete
Gaudete (English: ; Ecclesiastical Latin: [gawˈdetɛ] "rejoice" in Latin) is a sacred Christmas carol, thought to have been composed in the 16th century. It was published in Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs published in 1581. No music is given for the verses, but the standard tune comes from older liturgical books.
The Latin text is a typical medieval song of praise, which follows the standard pattern for the time – a uniform series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain (in the early English carol this was known as the burden). Carols could be on any subject, but typically they were about the Virgin Mary, the Saints or Yuletide themes.Ingravescentem aetatem
Ingravescentem aetatem (Ecclesiastical Latin: [iŋɡraveˈʃentem eˈtatem]) is a document issued by Pope Paul VI, dated 21 November 1970. It is divided into 8 chapters. The Latin title is taken from the incipit, and translates to "advancing age". It established a rule that only cardinals who have not reached the age of 80 can participate in a conclave.
In 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his plan to resign as pope, he described his reasoning with the same phrase: ingravescentem aetatem.Latin Church
The Latin Church (also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church) is the largest particular church of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 sui iuris churches, the 23 other forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West –, with headquarters in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity, according to Catholic tradition, through its direct leadership under the Holy See.
Substantial distinguishing theological emphases, liturgical traditions, features and identity can be traced back to the Latin church fathers, and most importantly the Latin Doctors of the Church, active during the first centuries A.D., including in the Early African church. After the East-West schism in 1054, in the Middle Ages its members became known as Latins in contrast with Eastern Christians. Following the Islamic conquests, the Crusades were launched in order to defend Christians in the Holy Land against persecution. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was established for their care, remaining until this day. Other Latin dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Carthage where much of trinitarian theology, and Ecclesiastical Latin was developed, were vanquished and transformed into titular sees when Christians were forced to convert, flee, or die. A persecution that goes on until today, especially around the Islamic world.
The Latin Church was in full communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East-West schism. It was spread to Latin America in the early modern period. The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century resulted in Protestantism breaking away. Since 19th century, also smaller groups of Independent Catholic denominations broke away.
With approximately 1.255 billion members (2015), it remains by far the largest particular church not only in the Catholic Church or Western Christianity, but in all Christianity.Latin Mass
A Latin Mass is a Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in Ecclesiastical Latin.Latin liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Latin tradition Catholic liturgical rites employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
The Latin rites were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular Churches. Their number is now much reduced. In the aftermath of the Council of Trent, in 1568 and 1570 Pope Pius V suppressed the Breviaries and Missals that could not be shown to have an antiquity of at least two centuries (see Tridentine Mass and Roman Missal). Many local rites that remained legitimate even after this decree were abandoned voluntarily, especially in the 19th century. In the second half of the 20th century, most of the religious orders that had a distinct liturgical rite chose to adopt in its place the Roman Rite as revised in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council (see Mass of Paul VI). A few such liturgical rites persist today for the celebration of Mass, since 1965-1970 in revised forms, but the distinct liturgical rites for celebrating the other sacraments have been almost completely abandoned.Mare Nostrum
Mare Nostrum (Latin for "Our Sea") was a Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea. In Classical Latin it was pronounced [ˈma.rɛ ˈnɔs.trũ], and in Ecclesiastical Latin it is pronounced [ˈma.ɾe ˈnos.trum].
In the years following the unification of Italy in 1861, Italian nationalists who saw Italy as the successor state to the Roman Empire attempted to revive the term.Medieval Latin
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in Roman Catholic Western Europe during the Middle Ages. In this region it served as the primary written language, though local languages were also written to varying degrees. Latin functioned as the main medium of scholarly exchange, as the liturgical language of the Church, and as the working language of science, literature, law, and administration.
Medieval Latin represented, in essence, a continuation of Classical Latin and Late Latin, with enhancements for new concepts as well as for the increasing integration of Christianity. Despite some meaningful differences from Classical Latin, Medieval writers did not regard it as a fundamentally different language. There is no real consensus on the exact boundary where Late Latin ends and Medieval Latin begins. Some scholarly surveys begin with the rise of early Ecclesiastical Latin in the middle of the 4th century, others around 500, and still others with the replacement of written Late Latin by written Romance languages starting around the year 900.
The terms Medieval Latin and Ecclesiastical Latin are often used synonymously, though some scholars draw distinctions. Ecclesiastical Latin refers specifically to the form that has been used by the Roman Catholic Church, whereas Medieval Latin refers more broadly to all of the (written) forms of Latin used in the Middle Ages. The Romance languages spoken in the Middle Ages were often referred to as Latin, since the Romance languages were all descended from Classical, or Roman, Latin itself.Mulieris dignitatem
Mulieris dignitatem (Ecclesiastical Latin: [muˈljɛris diɲɲiˈtatem]) is an apostolic letter by Pope John Paul II on the dignity of women, published on 15 August 1988, and written in conjunction with the 1987-88 Marian Year.Mulieris Dignitatem defends the equality of women, the vocation to love, the mutual submission of husbands and wives, the on-going impact of Original Sin on male/female relationships, Jesus's modeling of how to treat women, the significance of Jesus's mother for today's Christians, and the nature of the relationship between Christ and His Church including the role of the Eucharist as expressing the total self-gift of Christ and making possible the reciprocal total self-gift of the recipient.Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium
"Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium" (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈpan.dʒe ˈlin.gwa glo.riˈo.si ˈkɔr.po.ris miˈste.ri.um]) is a Medieval Latin hymn written by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) for the Feast of Corpus Christi. It is also sung on Maundy Thursday during the procession from the church to the place where the Blessed Sacrament is kept until Good Friday. The last two stanzas (called, separately, "Tantum ergo") are sung at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The hymn expresses the doctrine that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ during the celebration of the Eucharist.
It is often sung in English as the hymn "Of the Glorious Body Telling" to the same tune as the Latin.
The opening words recall another famous Latin sequence from which this hymn is derived: "Pange lingua gloriosi proelium certaminis" by Venantius Fortunatus.Quo vadis?
Quō vādis? (Classical Latin: [kʷoː waːdɪs], Ecclesiastical Latin: [kwo vadis]) is a Latin phrase meaning "Where are you marching?" It is also commonly translated as "Where are you going?" or, poetically, "Whither goest thou?"
It also may refer to a Christian tradition regarding Saint Peter. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter (Vercelli Acts XXXV), Peter flees from crucifixion in Rome at the hands of the government, and along the road outside the city, he meets the risen Jesus. In the Latin translation, Peter asks Jesus, "Quō vādis?" He replies, "Rōmam eō iterum crucifīgī ("I am going to Rome to be crucified again"). Peter then gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, where he is martyred by being crucified upside-down. The Church of Domine Quo Vadis in Rome is built where the meeting between Peter and Jesus allegedly took place.
The words "quo vadis" as a question also occur at least seven times in the Latin Vulgate.Salve Regina
The Salve Regina (; Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈsalve reˈdʒina], meaning "Hail Queen"), also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity Sunday until the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. The Hail Holy Queen is also the final prayer of the Rosary.
The work was composed during the Middle Ages and originally appeared in Latin, the prevalent language of Western Christianity until modern times. Though traditionally ascribed to the eleventh-century German monk Hermann of Reichenau, it is regarded as anonymous by most musicologists. Traditionally it has been sung in Latin, though many translations exist. These are often used as spoken prayers.Vaticinium ex eventu
Vāticinium ex ēventū (Ecclesiastical Latin: [vatiˈtʃini.um ɛks eˈvɛntu], "prophecy from the event") is a technical theological or historiographical term referring to a prophecy written after the author already had information about the events being "foretold". The text is written so as to appear that the prophecy had taken place before the event, when in fact it was written after the events supposedly predicted. Vaticinium ex eventu is a form of hindsight bias. The concept is similar but distinct from postdiction, where prophecies that were genuinely written or spoken before the event are reinterpreted after the event to fit the facts as they occurred.Veni, vidi, vici
Veni, vidi, vici (Classical Latin: [ˈweː.niː ˈwiː.diː ˈwiː.kiː]; Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈvɛni ˈvidi ˈvitʃi]; "I came; I saw; I conquered") is a Latin phrase popularly attributed to Julius Caesar who, according to Appian, used the phrase in a letter to the Roman Senate around 47 BC after he had achieved a quick victory in his short war against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. The phrase is used to refer to a swift, conclusive victory.
The phrase is attributed in Plutarch's Life of Caesar and Suetonius's Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Julius. Plutarch writes that Caesar used it in a report to Amantius, a friend of his at Rome. Suetonius states that Caesar displayed the three words as an inscription during his Pontic triumph.Via et veritas et vita
Via et veritas et vita (Classical Latin: [ˈwi.a ˈweːritaːs ˈwiːta], Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈvi.a ˈveritas ˈvita]) is a Latin phrase meaning "the way and the truth and the life". The words are taken from John 14:6, and were spoken by Jesus Christ in reference to himself.
These words, and sometimes the asyndetic variant via veritas vita, have been used as the motto of various educational institutions and governments.
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Ages of Latin