The Lord's Prayer

At an English language Mass people sing “Our Father, who art in heaven…”. If it is a Latin Mass people sing “Pater noster, qui es in caelis…”. Why did they translate caelis into heaven when it actually means heavens?

“Caelis” does not “actually mean” “heavens.” It is a plural Latin word, but that does not dictate that we must translate it into a plural in any other language.

The better question is why at a Latin Mass people sing “cotidianum,” where the Greek has “ἐπιούσιον” instead.


I understand they decided to leave the Pater Noster alone in the new “new literal” English translation. If they were to change it, they’d also have to change “trespasses” to “debts,” “hallowed” to “sanctified” and so on. Maybe next time. :slight_smile:

ICEL had tried to change it during the first round of translations but it was roundly rejected by The VRican which insisted that the traditional translation be retained.

Caelis forbid that we, as Latin rite Roman Catholics, pray in Latin and just avoid all the translation nonsense that hangs so many people up.

You mean the Greek, right? Otherwise there will be translation issues from the way it’s given in the Sacred Scriptures.

Wasn’t the original in Aramaic?

Maybe because we’ve been doing that for what, 17-18 centuries?

The Greek word “epiousios” from the Gospel of Mark was rendered as “cotidianum” in the Vetus Latina (collective name given to the Biblical texts in Latin that were translated before St Jerome’s Biblia Sacra Vulgata) and is found in the Gospel of Luke in the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, which is the definitive and officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible, you know, the one the modern vernacular translations come from.

Actually Luke has it a little differently. Luke 11:2-4

πάτερ, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου: ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου: 3 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ’ ἡμέραν: 4 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, καὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ ἀφίομεν παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν: καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν.

Pater, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. 3 Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie. 4 Et dimitte nobis peccata nostra, siquidem et ipsi dimittimus omni debenti nobis. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us this day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.

Matthew 6:9

πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου, 10 ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. 11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον: 12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν: 13 καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Pater noster, qui es in cælis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. 10 Adveniat regnum tuum; fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo et in terra. 11 Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie, 12 et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. 13 Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Luke omits the “in the heavens.”

Readers of this post may be interested in a heavily annotated transliteration of the Lord’s Prayer from the Original Greek. See Origins of the Lord’s Prayer

The Hebrew word for God is plural: Elohim. We would not translate Genesis 1:1 as using the English plural, “In the beginning Gods created the…”

If you really want to nitpick, you could say it is “who art in the Heavens”, which is functionally saying the exact same thing as “who art in Heaven”. :shrug:

In the Russian Orthodox church it is said this way.

  Our Father who art in the heavens hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy
  will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive
  us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation and deliver
  us from the evil one.

This was supposed to have been translated from the original Greek.

Wait, that sounds like it was taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. If it was translated fresh from the original Greek, why was it rendered in Tyndale English? Were they trying to preserve the sense of the 2nd person familiar from the Russian? Modern English hasn’t used the second person familiar for hundreds of years, and most modern English speakers take it to be formal rather than familiar, but Tyndale and other translators saved it for religious use by using it to translate their English language Bibles.

And the reason the Church uses Matthew’s version rather than Lucas’s is because the former WAS an apostle who knew Jesus and is considered a direct testimony while Lucas learned it from St. Paul who is himself a secondary source.
At least this is what was explained recently I believe on CA.

Peace :thumbsup:

That makes sense, but we don’t have the originals to go on. Perhaps St. Jerome did; I don’t know.

I really don’t know the answers to your questions. I do know that ROCOR uses traditional English for the services that are in English. The official langugue used is Slavonic, but I don’t know Slavonic. You could try writing Holy Trinity seminary and monastery upstate New York. Perhaps they will know?

The only parishes using Slavonic are for the Old Russians and Slavonic is different from modern Russian. So even Slavonic services are in a traditional language, like Latin for Catholics. In Texas all the parishes use traditional English since we have no Old Russians.

:hmmm: made me wonder something,

Latin Version:

Pater Noster qui es in coelis,
santificetur Nomen tuum,
adveniat regnum tuum,
fiat voluntas tua,
sicut in Coelo et in Terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie,
et dimitte nobis debita nostra
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris,
et ne nos inducas in tentationem,
sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Spanish version:

Padre Nuestro, que estás en los Cielos,
Santificado sea Tu Nombre,
Venga a nosotros Tu Reino,
Hágase Tu Voluntad,
así en la tierra como en el Cielo.
El pan nuestro de cada día dánoslo hoy,
y perdona nuestras ofensas,
así como nosotros perdonamos a quiénes nos ofenden,
(y perdona nuestras deudas
así como nosotros perdonamos a nuestros deudores)
y no nos dejes caer en la tentación,
mas líbranos del mal. Amén.

I am more familiar with the version that uses “deuda” instead of “ofensas” (it is in the parenthesis)

Italian version:

Padre Nostro, che sei nei cieli,
sia santificato il Tuo nome,
venga il Tuo regno,
sia fatta la Tua volontà,
come in Cielo, così in Terra.
Dacci oggi il nostro pane quotidiano,
e rimetti a noi i nostri debiti
come noi li rimettiamo ai nostri debitori,
e non ci indurre in tentazione,
ma liberaci dal male. Amen.

The Italian and Spanish transalation are pretty much verbatim to the Latin original which uses “Heavens” (plural) in the first sentece and “Heaven” (singular) in the 5th.

I guess it is a matter of “English” being of a different root brings extra difficulty in properly translating it.

Peace :thumbsup:

French “Notre Père” translates coelis as the plural ‘cieux’ rather than the singular ‘ciel’ and dimitte nobis debita nostra is 'pardonnez-nous nos offenses.

Interestingly, before 1966, *et ne nos inducas in tentationem *was translated as “Et ne nous laissez pas succomber à la tentation” rather than the present “Et ne nous soumets pas à la tentation”. So before 1966 we were praying that God would not let us give in to temptation and now we pray that He won’t submit us to temptation.

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