Ecclesiastical Latin | Free Online Biblical Library

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Ecclesiastical Latin

Latin succeeded Greek as the official language of the Western Church during the third century. Ecclesiastical Latin originated in the popular speech and was popularized and formalized by the Vulgate of Jerome. It served as the lingua franca until late in the Middle Ages. By the time of the Renaissance, some humanists tried to purify the ecclesiastical Latin by returning it to its classical structure and phonetics. Comparatively, ecclesiastical Latin stands to classical Latin as Koine Greek relates to classical Greek. The phonetics and pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin is known as the Italian pronunciation, and for liturgical purposes none but this pronunciation is permissible.