you're reading...
Latin Literature

Christmas, in Latin of course


(From the Roman Martyrology)

ANNO a creatióne mundi, quando in princípio Deus creávit cœlum et terram, quínquies millésimo centésimo nonagésimo nono: A dilúvio autem, anno bis millésimo nongentésimo quinquagésimo séptimo: A nativitáte Abrahæ, anno bis millésimo quintodécimo: A Moyse et egréssu pópuli Israel de Ægypto, anno millésimo quingentésimo décimo: Ab unctióne David in Regem, anno millésimo trigésimo secúndo; Hebdómada sexagésima quinta, juxta Daniélis prophetíam: Olympíade centésima nonagésima quarta: Ab urbe Roma cóndita, anno septingentésimo quinquagésimo secúndo: Anno Impérii Octaviáni Augústi quadragésimo secúndo, toto Orbe in pace compósito, sexta mundi ætáte, –
Jesus Christus ætérnus Deus, æterníque Patris Fílius, mundum volens advéntu suo piíssimo consecráre, de Spíritu Sancto concéptus, novémque post conceptiónem decúrsis ménsibus,  in Béthlehem Judæ náscitur ex María Vírgine factus Homo. Natívitas Dómini nostri Jesu Christi secúndum carnem.

(for translation, see The Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland  http://tlm-md.blogspot.com/2008/12/proclamation-of-birth-of-christ-from.html.  There is also a chanted version of this.  The image is from ReUsable Art.com)

The Roman Martyrology is the official listing of the saints celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.  It had been customary for the Proclamation to be read out on Christmas Eve before Midnight Mass commenced.  It seeks to establish the birth of Christ not only within a religious but also a historical context.  Although read out before Midnight Mass for centuries, it had been removed from the Christmas rites during the reform of the liturgy.  However it was restored in the 1980s by Pope John Paul II for the papal celebration of the Mass.  It is not known how widespread this practice is today.  If you read across the many blogs discussing Christmas ritual, some people have  only just encountered it after many years of attending Mass, while some express disappointment at the translation (interestingly, one dismayed at the attempt to work the mention of women into it….).

I suppose I can understand the chagrin at the modenisation, in some cases downright rewriting, of a religious text.  During this time of year, I try not to focus on the things that alienate me from the Church.  Instead I try to concentrate on the message of renewal, rebirth, of reflection, of a story that is the antithesis of some of the overwhelming materialism that can destroy the spirit of the holiday.

Well, enough of that.  I will get back to the birds and the bees (behave!) in my next post.  With some of the warm weather we have been having, the bees have been active.  And, there’s been some changes at the pool and leisure center for the birds.  I’m sure you (all what, 10 of you?) are on the edge of your seats….

Merry Christmas!





No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

My Latin Notebook

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 197 other followers

%d bloggers like this: