In saecula saeculorum

Ave Maria!
What does “In saecula saeculorum” mean?
and is it the same as “in aeternum”?

The closest translation in my opinion, is rendered in Spanish: Por los siglos de los siglos. If we were to transliterate it would be: for the centuries of the centuries.

In English it’s: for ever and ever. In aeternum would be: for eternity or wihout end. In Spanish: por la eternidad or por toda la eternidad.

Sorry, this is just my mangy dog perspective.

I was always sure it meant “in the age(s) of ages”. It is a very poetic way of saying “forever and ever”, though I suppose it might be more accurately rendered as “ever and forever”? :smiley: Whenever I pray the minor doxology, I say “Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, and now, and forever/always (semper - in Italian musical terminology, I know “semper staccato” means “always detached”, i.e. notes are not sustained but played lightly), and in the age of ages.”

“World without end” certainly doesn’t seem to even come close to the meaning. :blush: I remember hearing Catholics say this in prayer, and wondering “how does that equal ‘in saecula saeculorum’ at all?” I felt as if I was in some Anglican prayer meeting. How can you translate “semper” as “forever”, then “et in saecula saeculorum” as “forever and ever”?

The literal translation of the Hungarian would be “forever and ever”. In my opinion the English word without end well describes the meaning: the coming New World which will not end.

Unto the age of ages.

I accidentally read “saeculorum” as “seculorum”, which looks like secular or worldly, so “World without end” seems like it could have been a reasonable, if mistaken translation.

Those words are the same. Since the Italianate “ae” is pronounced like “e” anyway, mediaeval spellings often tended to simplify “saeculum” to “seculum” – much like American English, which I follow in all things but a few, simplifies “mediaeval” (and “aesthetic,” etc.) to “medieval” (and “esthetic,” etc.). We also see syncopated forms like “seclorum,” which appears on the dollar bill in the motto “Novus Ordo Seclorum” (“A New Order of the Ages”). They are just variant spellings.

As you can see here, the basic meaning of the word is “a race, breed, generation,” “a lifetime, generation, age,” “a period of a hundred years, a century,” etc. Consequently we get the word secular (cf. Latin saecularis), which in the root sense doesn’t mean “not religious,” but simply “of the ages” in the sense that it something is bound to worldly time.

Incidentally, you can google “New Secular Order” to get a laugh out of the confusion that is caused when people think that Latin “seclorum” means “nonreligious.” It’s all a Masonic NWO conspiracy!!! And they’re announcing their plans on our dollar bill!!!

FWIW, it gets translated to “na wieki wiekow” in Polish, which is essentially “for ages of ages.”

From “A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin,”

The prepositional phrase “in saecula saeculorum” … is used with adverbial force. The use of the genitive of a word to limit another case of itself is a Hebraic idiom which intensifies the meaning.

Shows the problem of trying to use a cognate in translation, though it can be used to show how words are related. The danger, of course, is in saying that secular is more closer to the Latin because it looks like the Latin.

German is “von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit” – from eternity to eternity.

Even in Latin, it’s a figure of speech, that means “forever”.

I found this latindiscussion.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=11717
but I don’t know if they are giving the Catholic answers

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