PRAYERCAzT: The Lorica of St. Patrick

The Latin word loríca means “a leather cuirass; a defense of any kind; a breastwork, parapet”.  In effect, it means “armor”.  It has come to be associated with a prayer attributed to St. Patrick (+ 5th c.) .

“Loríca” is also association with an rhythmic invocation or prayer especially for protection as when going into battle.

The Lorica of St. Patrick is rooted in an unconfused belief in the supernatural dimension of our lives, that there is a spiritual battle being waged for our souls, and in our absolute dependence on the One Three-Personed God.

One could pray this prayer each and every morning.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Denis says:

    I love the lorica, but I’ve always been puzzled by this line: “I summon today all these powers between me and evil, against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul…spells of women and smiths and wizards…”

    Wizards I understand. Women? Maybe there were some particularly powerful spells conjured by women in those days. But smiths? (I’ve also seen “tinkers.”) What were smiths up to in S. Patrick’s day?

  2. wanda says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. Blessings on this St. Patrick’s Day.

  3. irishgirl says:

    Thank you for this, Father Z-Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!
    Yes, the ‘Lorica’ does have a certain rhythm to it!
    Like the picture of the breastplate-looks pretty mean!

  4. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Denis, people who wrought metal have always been thought to have magical powers. That is why Tubalcain is mentioned in Freemasonry. The same goes for bees, wine, etc. anything that seems to undergo an alchemical-like change. We now know the process of iron and steelmaking but back then it was by “feel.”

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    Smiths in Celtic tradition have always been associated with wizardry. Ditto the tinkers for that matter. Has to do with their use of earth (iron), air, fire and water, probably. Also a good sword in the old days was a matter of life and death.
    There’s also a strong link in Norse mythology between smithing and wizards (cf. Volundsmith, who makes a guest appearance as Wayland Smith in Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill, which carries on the idea of the smith as wizard.)
    Beannachte na Féile Pádraig oirbh!

  6. Denis says:

    Banjo pickin girl, irishgirl, thank you for the explanation.

  7. Toan says:

    I just set my phone alarm to play this track when I wake up in the morning.

  8. maynardus says:

    That ‘lorica’ looks like the sort of tuncle the subdeacon would wear – along with his beretta and an embroidered Kevlar maniple – at a properly-celebrated Missa in Tempore Belli!

  9. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    I love this prayer, and I have long searched for a Latin version of it, alas, to no avail.

    If you don’t mind, Fr Z, a bleg. Can anyone tell me where to find one? Unless I overlooked it, it is not in PL53.

  10. Fr. Basil says:

    Robertus Pittsburghensis, I believe the prayer was originally written in Gaelic, which is why the last few lines (Domini est salus…) are in Latin.

    It is now being included in Orthodox prayerbooks.

  11. Brad says:

    Hi Denis, I reckon the mighty saint is just fortifying himself against his own natural lust for women. But also I wonder if he is specifically steeling himself against indigenous female occultists?

    But about the prayer itself: I am so thankful to God that he would even let me have heard this prayer that evinces the true nature of my parish saint. I tire of the secularization of this mighty saint. I saw a flier last night at the gym for St. Patrick’s day tea-n-gossip at the local realtor’s lodge/christian science reading room (If I recall, they are co-located). There has to be deeper/more meaning to life than just leaving it (and our emerald saint) at that.

  12. patrick_f says:

    I think the women line is more an asking of protection against lust..or perhaps more important to the time…a reference to Druid Priestesses ?

  13. amulack says:

    women? I’ve only known it to say “witches” not “women”

    “Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards”

  14. WaywardSailor says:

    “One could pray this prayer each and every morning.”

    Together with the prayer to St. Michael, I consider this to be my “spiritual armor”. I love the Lorica (Lúireach Pádraig) and will pray the complete version on St. Patrick’s Day and in times of danger. I use this version (because it was fairly easy to memorize), as found on the cd “Calming the Storm” by the monks of Glenstal Abbey, as one of my regular morning prayers and as a pre-communion prayer:

    I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
    His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need,
    The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
    The Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
    Christ be with, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me,
    Christ at my right hand, Christ at my left hand, Christ in front of me, Christ behind me,
    Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me.

    Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

  15. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Thanks to Fr Basil! For with his snippit of Latin, I was able to find the entire prayer in Latin at Google Books, namely page 345 of the “Lyra hibernica sacra” edited by William MacIlwaine in 1878. The prayer is titled Santi Patricii hymnus ad Temoriam.

    The prayer begins:

    Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis, credo in Trinitatem sub unitatate numinis elementorum.

    Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem nativitatis Christi cum ea ejus baptismi, Virtutem crucifixionis cum ea ejus sepulturae, Virtutem resurrectionis cum ea ejus ascensionis, Virtutem adventus ad judicium oeternum.

    “Temoria” is, I presume, Temair na Ri, the Hill of Tara.

  16. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    That Fr Z and Google might preserve the Latin text, I here take the liberty of entering the entire poem transcribed from the scanned book. I corrected a few typos (and doubtlessly introduced others) from MacIlwain’s book.

    Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam.

    Ad Temoriam hodia potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis,
    Credo in Trinitatem sub unitate numinis elementorum.

    Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem nativitatis Christi cum ea ejus baptismi,
    Virtutem crucifixionis cum ea ejus sepulturae,
    Virtutem resurrectionis cum ea ascensionis,
    Virtutem adventus ad judicium aeternum.

    Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem amoris Seraphim in obsequio angelorum,
    In spe resurrectionis ad adipiscendum praemium.
    In orationibus nobilium Patrum,
    In praedictionibus prophetarum,
    In praedicationibus apostolorum,
    In fide confessorum,
    In castitate sanctarum virginum,
    In actis justorum virorum.

    Apud Temoriam hodie potentiam coeli,
    Lucem solis,
    Candorem nivis,
    Vim ignis,
    Rapiditatem fulguris,
    Velocitatem venti,
    Profunditatem maris,
    Stabilitatem terrae,
    Duritiam petrarum.

    Ad Temoriam hodie potentia Dei me dirigat,
    Potestas Dei me conservet,
    Sapientia Dei me edoceat,
    Oculus Dei mihi provideat,
    Auris Dei me exaudiat,
    Verbum Dei me disertum faciat,
    Manus Dei me protegat,
    Via Dei mihi patefiat,
    Scutum Dei me protegat,
    Exercitus Dei me defendat,
    Contra insidias daemonum,
    Contra illecebras vitiorum,
    Contra inclinationes animi,
    Contra omnem hominem qui meditetur injuriam mihi,
    Procul et prope,
    Cum paucis et cum multis.

    Posui circa me sane omnes potentias has
    Contra omnem potentiam hostilem saevam
    Excogitatam meo corpori et meae animae;
    Contra incantamenta pseudo-vatum,
    Contra nigras leges gentilitatis,
    Contra pseudo-leges haereseos,
    Contra dolum idololatriae,
    Contra incantamenta mulierum,
    Et fabrorum ferrariorum et druidum,
    Contra omnem scientiam quae occaecat animum hominis.

    Christus me protegat hodie
    Contra venenum,
    Contra combustionem,
    Contra demersionem,
    Contra vulnera,
    Donec meritus essem multum praemii.

    Christus mecum,
    Christus ante me,
    Christus me pone,
    Christus in me,
    Christus infra me,
    Christus supra me,
    Christus ad dextram meam,
    Christus ad laevam meam,
    Christus hine,
    Christus illine,
    Christus a tergo.

    Christus in corde omnis hominis quem alloquar,
    Christus in ore cujusvis qui me alloquatur,
    Christus in omni oculo qui me videat,
    Christus in omni aure quae me audiat.

    Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis.

    Credo in Trinitatem sub Unitate numinis elementorum.
    Domini est salus,
    Domini est salus,
    Christi est salus,
    Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.

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