Via et veritas et vita

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The motto as it appears on the arms of the city of Arad, Romania.

Via et veritas et vita (Classical Latin[ˈwɪ.a ɛt ˈweːrɪtaːs ɛt ˈwiːta], Ecclesiastical Latin[ˈvi.a et ˈveritas et ˈvita]) is a Latin phrase meaning "the way and the truth and the life". The words are taken from Vulgate version of John 14:6, and were spoken by Jesus Christ in reference to himself.

These words, and sometimes the asyndetic variant via veritas vita, have been used as the motto of various educational institutions and governments.

New Testament[edit]

The phrase is found in verse 6 of chapter 14 of the Gospel of John, as part of Jesus' Farewell Discourse during the Last Supper:

"5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’"(New Revised Standard Version)

In the Latin Vulgate, verse 6 states 'dicit ei Iesus ego sum via et veritas et vita nemo venit ad Patrem nisi per me.[1]

The phrase "The Way" is also found in Acts 9:2 and 19:23 as a term to describe the early church.

Christian theology[edit]

This concept is foundational to Christian theology and the primary mechanism by which the metaphysics of Christianity establish a separation between theological principles of the earlier Judaism and other Abrahamic religions, in addition to Pauline directives not to practice the mitzvot and an establishment of Jesus Christ as divine.

It only appears in John 14:6, likely the latest of the gospels, and consistent with the debates about the divinity of the Christian messiah and the split that was occurring in the earliest churches between orthodoxy and Arianism.

It asserts that the Christian religion is the only path or method by which one receives forgiveness of sins, consistent with the Christian belief in original sin, and therefore eternal life of the soul following the death of the corporal body. The more liberal interpretations see this verse as an exultation and not a mandatory commandment, believing that any human being will receive eternal reward provided they live an ethical life and treat others according to the principles of the golden rule. Some interpretations call for a personal development and growth toward Christ, meaning, toward greater unity and communion with other human beings, while the more orthodox denominations interpret the verse more faithfully to the text as a mandatory commandment that all who wish to be saved must believe in Jesus Christ and his divine nature, or face eternal damnation.

Usage as a motto[edit]

Government[edit]

Educational institutions[edit]

Higher education[edit]

Secondary education[edit]

It is also the motto of some Canossian schools:

Primary education[edit]

See also[edit]

This is also inscribed above the entrance to the Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest, Hungary.

References[edit]