You are here:

Latin/Proper translation of "Come Holy Spirit"


Hello Maria,

I am hopeful that you can help me with a question that I have.  When my father was young he was taught a prayer by a Jesuit priest that was to be used as a Catholic aspiration.  The prayer as my father remembers it is "Veni Spiritus Sanctus" or "Come Holy Spirit".  I was intrigued by the story of this simple prayer and tried to look up more information on it, but could only find it worded as "Veni Sancte Spiritus" (as part of a longer passage).  Which form of this phrase (Veni Spiritus Sanctus vs. Veni Sancte Spiritus) is proper when used as a stand alone prayer?  

Thank you for your time.


"Veni Sancte Spiritus”, meaning “Come Holy Spirit”,  is the correct wording, whereas in "Veni Spiritus Sanctus" there is a mistake, i.e. the nominative case “Sanctus” instead of the vocative case “Sancte”.

"Veni Sancte Spiritus”, as  part of a longer Latin text, is the first line of a medieval hymn sung or recited during the Masses of Pentecost, as an invocation of the Holy Spirit.

As for your question, i.e. “Which form of this phrase (Veni Spiritus Sanctus vs. Veni Sancte Spiritus) is proper when used as a stand alone prayer?”, the proper form when used as a stand alone prayer is just “Veni Sancte Spiritus” where the imperative VENI means “Come”;the vocative  SANCTE means “ Holy “ and the vocative SPIRITUS means “Spirit”.
[Read more below].

To sum up, if a stand alone prayer wants to invoke Holy Spirit’s aid, he must say exactly “Veni Sancte Spiritus”.

All the best,


-VENI (2nd person singular, present imperative of the verb VENIO, I come) = come

-SANCTE (vocative singular of the adjective SANCTUS agreeing with the masculine vocative case SPIRITUS) = Holy

-SPIRITUS (vocative singular of the masculine noun SPIRITUS, belonging to the 4th declension) = Spirit

Note that the vocative of the masculine adjective SANCTUS, which is declined like the masculine nouns of the 2nd declension,is SANCTE,whereas the vocative of SPIRITUS, which belongs to the 4th declension, is SPIRITUS.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I am an expert in Latin Language and Literature and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2017 All rights reserved.