St. Gregory I, “the Great”

I am listening to the Holy Father’s Angelus address and he is focusing on the his predecessor, St. Pope Gregory the Great. Here is this Pope’s entry in the Roman Martyrology with a translation. There might be a slight flaw in the Latin text. Can you find it?

Memoria sancti Gregorii Magni, papae et Ecclesiae doctoris, qui, vita monastica inita, munere legati Constantinopoli functus est et, ad Sedem Romanam hac die tandem electus, et terrena composuit et sacra servus servorum curavit. Verum se exhibuit pastorem in rebus regendis, in egenis omnimodo subveniendo, in vita monastica fovenda, necnon in fide ubique firmanda vel propaganda, quapropter multa etiam de re morali ac pastorali egregie scripsit. Obiit vero die duodecima martii.

 

The memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church, who having begun in the monastic life, carried out the function of legate to Constantinople and eventually on this day was elected to the Roman See, both set in good order earthly affairs and also as the servant of servants cared for sacred matters. He showed himself to be a true shepherd in the governance, in aiding the poor in every way, in fostering the monastic life, and also in strengthening and spreading the Faith in every place, and for this reason wrote brilliantly many works about morals and pastoral concerns. He died, however, on the 12th day of March.

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11 Responses to St. Gregory I, “the Great”

  1. Ach, is nobody going to stick his neck out? I do not have access to my grammar books, but I am going to guess the problem is with the name of the city being dative. Perhaps it should be accusative or, more likely, ablative?

  2. Juan says:

    inita not initia, and Constantinopolim not Constantinopoli.

  3. Juan, no, inita and Constantinopoli are correct.  Getting that ablative absolute into English smoothly takes some fudging: \”once the monastic life had been entered into\”, etc.  That inita, from ineo, is part of an ablative absolute with vita.

    The -poli ending is dative of the place to which Gregory was sent as a legatus though we do see legatus with ad and the accusative.

    This is much simpler. Just read it through and you\’ll find something strange.

  4. Egenis subveniendo. Fails to agree in number.

  5. Joseph: Nope, not that either. That subveniendo is a gerund, not a gerundive, and subvenio is one of those verbs that takes a dative as an “object”.

  6. Juan says:

    I was pretty sure I read “initia” in the original posting. Anyway, I tried.

    I see your point, however. I understood “Constantinopoli” to refer to movement (he was sent to Constantinople, and thus need an -m) instead of location (he was legate at Constantinople).

  7. Well, I was afraid of that, but desperation makes one do strange things. As for finding a strange thing, I am still earnestly searching.

  8. What did you all do with the part I am putting in emphasis:

    Memoria sancti Gregorii Magni, papae et Ecclesiae doctoris, qui, vita monastica inita, munere legati Constantinopoli functus est et, ad Sedem Romanam hac die tandem electus, et terrena composuit et sacra servus servorum curavit.

  9. The first thing that struck me was that there were indeed a lot of ets, but after study I decided they all needed to be there. There are three predicates sharing the subject “qui”, with verbs “functus est/carried”, “composuit/set”, and “curavit/cared”. But the last two are joined with a both/and construction so they form a unit of their own. This unit then fits into the sentence as the second term of a series: “carried”, and “both set and cared” (et..et=both..and, for a total of three ets).

    You translated with four predicates, using “was elected”. If we do it that way I would then regard “set…cared” as the third term of a series: “carried”, and “was elected”, and “both set and cared”.

    In your translation above, I think there ought to be an “and” before “both”. But if we take out the “was” before “elected” we would not need it, as the highlighted “et” would then join the first predicate to the unit formed by the last two. In that case I would remove the comma after “see” or insert one before “eventually”.

    If I had to leave out an et, it would be the one before “terrena”, and we would then have a series of three, “carried” and “set” and “cared”. But then the contrasting “terrena” and “sacra” would not be displayed together in that nice “both/and” frame.

  10. How about eliminating the comma?

  11. I’d say eliminate the comma before “both” and the “was” before “elected” and we’re home free.