The church Latin is in the context of the Western Church developed, syntactically simplified and neologisms enriched form of Latin , which was created after 500 and is still in use, including as an official language for church documents.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin remained the common language in correspondence in its successor states. It persisted in the Latin Church, while Greek continued to be cultivated as a unifying language in the Eastern Churches .
Because Latin was only a second language and written language for many who used it, it was simplified compared to classical Latin . The so-called church Latin that emerges from these needs is based on the sober, simple language of Caesar , whose script De Bello Gallico is still used in Latin lessons today. Caesar's writing also served to facilitate access to the liturgy for many trainee priests .
In western Europe in the Middle Ages , church Latin was the written language of all ecclesiastical and secular documents and diplomacy - in correspondence of the Catholic Church in some cases until the 1960s. For example, the original language of all documents of the Second Vatican Council 1962–1965 is a clear, relatively sophisticated form of church Latin. Latin that is suitable for modern use can be looked up in the Lexicon recentis latinitatis since 1992 , which is published on behalf of the Roman Curia .
Church Latin remained the language of school education and later of universities, while the spoken languages that developed from Vulgar Latin ( Romance languages ) changed more. Church Latin was used not only by the clergy , but also by theologians, philosophers, lawyers and medical professionals. As the language of scholars, church Latin was replaced by humanistic Latin during the Renaissance , but remained in the Catholic Church, where it is used as the official language of the Vatican City as well as in the liturgy.
The new humanism of the 18th / 19th centuries In the early 20th century, with the beginning of a modern philology , Church Latin condemned anew, which had been preserved in fragments in some areas of life, for example in the court and official language (see Latin in Law ) or the terminology of chemistry and medicine. In popular parlance, this older Latin, which seems unkempt for the humanistically educated, was called “church and kitchen Latin ”.
One of the most famous works of early church Latin is the Vita Sancti Severini by Eugippius . For historians , too, it is a treasure trove of details from the political turmoil at the end of the Great Migration .