Monday, 15 October 2012

Latin (and Greek) Prayer of the Week: Our Father

One of the things I suggested you do for the Year of Faith is learn some key prayers in Latin.

The Our Father is one most people will be pretty familiar with, even with the Latin, and is easy to pick up if not.

It is an important prayer, being Scriptural, and one of the traditional organising principles for many Catechisms.  And of course you need to learn it so you can pray the rosary in Latin!

And for our Eastern Catholic brethren, how about it learning it in the traditional liturgical language of your particular rite?  There are certainly recordings around of the prayer being read in Greek as well as Latin.

Our Father (Pater Noster)

Here is the text:

Pater noster,
qui es in cælis:
sanctificétur nomen tuum;
advéniat regnum tuum;
fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidiánum da nobis hódie;
et dimítte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris;
et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem;
sed líbera nos a malo.

If you are not familiar with it, listen to it being read a few times until it starts to sound familiar.  

Looking at the Latin  

In terms of the Latin, notice that the word order differs from English.  That's because whereas we depend on word order for meaning in English, in Latin meaning is mostly dictated by the ending of the word.  That means word order can be used to for emphasis:

Pater (Father) noster (our), qui (who) es (is) in cælis (in the heavens): sanctificétur (let it be sanctified) nomen (name) tuum (your); advéniat (let it come) regnum (kingdom) tuum (your); fiat (let it be done) volúntas (will) tua (your), sicut (as) in cælo (in heaven), et (and) in terra (in earth). Panem (bread) nostrum (our) cotidiánum (daily) da (give) nobis (to us) hódie (today); et (and) dimítte (forgive) nobis (to us) débita (debts/tresspasses) nostra (our), sicut (as) et (and ) nos (us/we) dimíttimus (we dismiss/forgive) debitóribus (the trespasses/debts) nostris (of ours); et (and) ne (not) nos (us) indúcas (you lead) in tentatiónem (into temptation); sed (but) líbera (free) nos (us) a (from) malo evil.  

If you want to try and learn a little Latin as we go along, go back and pick out those recurring words, like et, tuus (and various endings), and make a list to learn!   Finally, the Our Father is a particularly good prayer to sing rather than just say.  Here is a version that helpfully gives you the words to you learn it off by heart...



*Note: Cotidianum vs quotidianum?

An astute reader has noted that I've used 'cotidianum' rather than the more familiar version to many, 'quotidianum'. That's because I'm using the official version given in the Catechism.

8 comments:

Collin Michael Nunis said...

While the idea of a "sacred language" is foreign to the mind of the Eastern Catholic, I think that the diverse languages used in each of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches warrants a mention: Be they in Coptic, Arabic, Greek, Ukrainian, Slavonic, Albanian, Italian, Syriac, Armenian, Assyrian etc.

More importantly, I hope that in saying these prayers, we are doing this to call upon our Father and tell Him, "I am your servant. Make what you will of me." :)

Subdeacon Collin

Kate Edwards said...

Isn't that a rather post-Vatican II spin on the issue Sub-deacon Colin?

As far as I can gather the Eastern Churches have generallly used forms of the language which might once have been the vernacular, but have ossified in the liturgical context.

Church Slavonic being the classical example, but of course the Koine Greek of the Greek Catholic Church, Syriac of Chaldean rites, Classical Armenian, Ge'ez of the Ethiopian etc being some others.

Antonia Romanesca said...

Thanks for that beautiful clip, Kate!

Maureen said...

I was privileged to have been taught Latin by a very learned nun - and to this day, I can still recite all the verses of O Fons Bandusiae! She taught us well, and I have always loved the language because it is so precise.
I think it's a tragedy that my grandchildren do not have the same opportunities; instead they learn with i-pads and laptops and write assignments which include the strange word "ideation".......

Collin Michael Nunis said...

Ossified in the liturgical context

Well, that has been the case, and can be the eventual case for those of us who speak English. I would say "why not", mostly because the Chinese Russian Catholics and Orthodox did it for many years before Vatican II (Exarchate of Harbin). This also occured in the U.S. when the then Fr. Joseph Raya celebrated the Melkite Liturgy in English; copping abuse from the local Latin bishop. This came to a stop when the great Servant of God, Fulton Sheen, celebrated a televised Pontifical Melkite Divine Liturgy in English; in 1958.

This has nothing to do with Vatican II - I am merely taking the example of Sts Cyril and Methodius in bringing the Byzantine Rite to the Slavic people. By doing this, If they did it then, then it is up to us to do the same. Salvation of souls is the utmost priority, and I believe that a well-celebrated Liturgy is key to that.

That being said, I would suggest that a handy document to read would be the "Melkite Church at Vatican II". :)

Peace.

Kate Edwards said...

Collin I accept the correction that it is not just a post-Vatican II phenonmenon. As was the case in the Latin Church, the push for a return to the vernacular clearly pre-dates that (and indeed went further than the push t dump Latin did pre-V2).

All the same my point is that some Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches have insisted on retaining the more formalized liturgical languages in the liturgy for exactly the same reasons that traditionalists in the West argue for it.

Sacred languages, however they came about (providentially)help us to step out of the normal world and into the sacred. Their hieratic and fixed meaning gets around most of the debates on translation such as those we've seen over the recent revison of the Ordinary Form. And languages like Church Slavonic are surely part of the patrimony of the Eastern Churches that deserves to be preserved.

The question I would pose is, does the vernacular truly aid the salvation of souls - or just dilute the distinct identity of the Eastern Rites?

And does failure to maintain those languages cut you off from a full appreciation of the theological riches of your tradition?

I'd suggest that the factors that dictated the use of the vernacular on the part of missionaries like SS Cyril and Methodius are rather different to those prevailing today.

In particular, surely the challenge for the Eastern Churches, like the Western, is to provide a distinctive alternative to the prevailing WASP (well White Anglo-Saxon Atheist or Securalist these days!) culture. A distinctive liturgical langauge can help do that, as language conveys a way of thinking.

Seems to me the example of Islam, which insists on its converts learning Arabic, is one we should consider!

Collin Michael Nunis said...

All the same my point is that some Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches have insisted on retaining the more formalized liturgical languages in the liturgy for exactly the same reasons that traditionalists in the West argue for it.

This is true, and I am all for it. For the Melkite, some hymns within the Liturgy are best sung in Greek or Arabic, as it gives these hymns a lot of “weight” not necessarily found in the English language. This I will concede.

Sacred languages, however they came about (providentially) help us to step out of the normal world and into the sacred. Their hieratic and fixed meaning gets around most of the debates on translation such as those we've seen over the recent revison of the Ordinary Form. And languages like Church Slavonic are surely part of the patrimony of the Eastern Churches that deserves to be preserved.

This is also true, but I was always under the impression that the whole Liturgy itself helps us step out of the normal world and into the sacred. And you are right in saying that Church Slavonic or Greek should be preserved, as I wouldn’t want it to die off myself.

The question I would pose is, does the vernacular truly aid the salvation of souls - or just dilute the distinct identity of the Eastern Rites?

From history and current movements, the distinct identity of the Eastern Rites were not diluted by the vernacular. It was Latinization that was the problem, and Eastern Catholic bishops blindly following what Rome did; which had no bearing on their respective Eastern tradition in the first place. Patriarch Maximos IV said this at Vatican II: “Latinism and Catholicism are not synonymous”.

And does failure to maintain those languages cut you off from a full appreciation of the theological riches of your tradition?

I would say both “yes” and “no”. From a Melkite perspective, I would say that the Arabic and the Greek would still be important to the Melkite as they have been hearing the Liturgy since birth. And for this, even at an English Divine Liturgy, as an example, I would request that one stanza of the Trisagion be sung in Greek and Arabic; alongside the usual English. As long as we take the time to explain these things to our young, then this will not be an issue.

As to why I say no: Firstly, I agree with the Western idea that Latin should be the universal language of the Church, but I also agree with the Eastern idea of “being Catholic”, and here is an example. Recently, a friend of mine went to Hong Kong at the invitation of the local Latin diocese to share the riches of the Eastern Catholic Churches with them. To end his visit there, he celebrated a Divine Liturgy in Cantonese (which in itself was a first; blessed by the Bishop of Hong Kong, and the Ukrainian Eparch for Australia). The way they did it was unique; as it incorporated Chinese colours in the building of the iconostasis. While the icons still remained Byzantine, the “screen” was made out of Chinese colours. And to top it off, the hymns within the Liturgy were sung according to traditional Chinese melodies; while bearing in mind the rule of Byzantine music: The human voice is the only instrument that can give praise to God.

Collin Michael Nunis said...

I'd suggest that the factors that dictated the use of the vernacular on the part of missionaries like SS Cyril and Methodius are rather different to those prevailing today.

This I admit will be fairly difficult in a Western culture, given that what we have that passes off as “traditional” is still too radically modern for any liturgy to use. But I believe that this is possible.

In particular, surely the challenge for the Eastern Churches, like the Western, is to provide a distinctive alternative to the prevailing WASP (well White Anglo-Saxon Atheist or Securalist these days!) culture. A distinctive liturgical langauge can help do that, as language conveys a way of thinking.

Indeed, but because the East relies heavily on a cultural framework, we would probably have a bigger challenge in reaching out than anyone else. But in saying that, English worship will coincide side-by-side with the liturgical language. But of course, if only people thought and expressed themselves in their respective liturgical languages. I know I do!

Seems to me the example of Islam, which insists on its converts learning Arabic, is one we should consider!

Arabic is a good language to learn either way.