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.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. shane says:

    The Royal Irish Academy have set up a fantastic new site on St. Patrick

    Incidentally why aren’t the leaders in the Irish Church doing something enterprising like this? The website of the Irish Episcopal Conference is silent, apart from a brief message from Cardinal Brady and interview with Prof. Salvador Ryan.

  2. Thanks for the link Shane. I guess their attention is elsewhere. In addition if they’re anything like the ‘older’ clergy in my Order they just don’t get the internet thing. They use it but don’t realise the possibilities.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    Wow! The Latin text?! I’ve been looking for this for YEARS! Thank you, Father!

  4. Flos Carmeli says:

    This is amazing. Incredible. I have only ever heard the verse that begins, “Christ within me…” Thank you.

  5. yatzer says:

    Thanks, Father! I was happy to hear the whole thing also. Plus it is fortifying for those times when I feel that I am battling alone, with one hand tied behind my back.

  6. Steve Cavanaugh says:

    The Episcopal Hymnal 1940 has the full wording of St. Patrick’s Breastplate at #268.

    You can see the words and hear the tune at the Oremus online hymnal:

    My Anglican Use parish uses this hymn as the offertory hymn every year on the feast of the Holy Trinity.

    It begins:

    I bind unto myself today
    the strong Name of the Trinity,
    by invocation of the same,
    the Three in One, and One in Three.
    I bind this day to me for ever,
    by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
    his baptism in Jordan river;
    his death on cross for my salvation;
    his bursting from the spicèd tomb;
    his riding up the heavenly way;
    his coming at the day of doom:
    I bind unto myself today…

  7. LadyMarchmain says:

    Thank you so much for this, Father! I have been trying to obtain the Latin text for ages.

  8. pj_houston says:

    Thank you Fr. Z, I will definitely save this.


  9. AnnAsher says:

    Copied and saved! Gratias!

  10. Robertus Pittsburghensis says:

    Hi Father Zed,

    Thanks so much for this.

    In the first line, you might want to change “hodia” to “hodie”, a mistake I made during transcription.

    The rest looks great! Thanks again.

  11. dbqcatholic says:

    Thanks, Father Z, and thanks also to Steve for the English translation!

  12. frbkelly says:

    I echo the thanks of the others here, Fr. Z
    But as a Latin teacher at our seminary, I have a couple of questions.
    I have been looking for a Latin text for this for a long time and I want to use it in my class, but I would like to know, if possible, the source of the Latin text.
    Aside from the _hodia_ in the first stanza, I was wondering about the stanza that begins _Christus mecum_ It looks to me as though some lines may be mixed up when I line it up against a couple of English versions, so I was wondering whether there might be some minor proofreading errors there, or is it just 5th century Latin usage?
    Specifically I was questioning the _Christus me pone_ after _Christus ante me_ and then _Christus a tergo_ 8 lines down.
    I would like to use this for my students, but don’t want to copy it out yet if there are correctable errors there. Thank you for all you do!

  13. irishgirl says:

    Thank you for this, Father Z! It did my half-Irish heart good to read these stirring words of St. Patrick (and your translation into English)! I got the goosebumps as I was listening!
    St. Patrick’s feast day is special in my family because it was the day that my late father was born 94 years ago. He was from a full-blooded Irish-American family (his parents were probably second-generation Irish-Americans), and was very proud of his heritage. We always adorned his birthday cake with a little leprechaun figure (made in Japan….we dubbed it ‘The Japanese Leprechaun’!).
    Both his siblings-an older brother (who was my godfather) and an older sister married Irish-Americans; but my father ‘broke the mold’ and married a full-blooded German woman, who became my mother! Go figure…..

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thank you Father!
    It’s actually “tunes”, since it shifts back and forth between “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “Deirdre” (set by C.V. Stanford, a good Irishman, translation by Cecil Alexander who also brought us “All Things Bright and Beautiful”).
    It’s on line here. We sing it at a good deal faster tempo – especially “Deirdre” – but it’s still a fine hymn.
    Funny you should mention the German-Irish connection. My husband’s grandfather made a bit of a stir in his extremely Irish Catholic family when he married a German Catholic lady. My mother in law says you can always tell which side of the family folks are on in the family photographs — the Irish always look like they’re having a roaring good time, while the Germans are . . . serious. Photographs are a serious business after all. :-D

  15. Rouxfus says:

    I really like Fr. Z’s translation into English as he prayed it in this podcazt. It returns to the prayer, which is often hacked to bits when rendered in English. Angelina’s recording [YouTube] of the prayer is hauntingly beautiful, and I have found it to be an excellent wake-up alarm sound on my iOS device (using Nightstand app) – it is a wonderful way to start the day. But, e’en so, Angelina’s libretto is truncated – many of the best lines of the prayer have been elided.

    I transcribed Fr. Z’s translation from the podcazt, and formatted it to underscore the beautiful structure of the prayer, which Fr. Z’s rendition serves beautifully, and which is as intricate as the Celtic illumination on a page of the Book of Kells.

    St. Patrick’s Hymn to Tara
    or, The Loríca of St. Patrick (St. Patrick’s Breastplate)
    or, The Deer’s Cry

    I arise today
    through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    through belief in the three-ness,
    through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.

    I arise today
    through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
    through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
    through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
    through the strength of his descent for the judgement of doom.

    I arise today through the strength of the love of cherubim,
    in the obedience of angels,
    in the service of archangels,
    in the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
    in the prayers of patriarchs,
    in the predictions of prophets,
    in the preaching of apostles,
    in the faith of confessors,
    in the innocence of holy virgins,
    in the deeds of righteous men.

    I arise today through

    the strength of heaven,
    the light of the sun,
    the radiance of the moon,

    the splendor of fire,
    the speed of lightning,
    the swiftness of wind,

    the depth of the sea,
    the stability of the earth,
    the firmness of rock.

    I arise today with
    God’s strength to pilot me,
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s wisdom to guide me,
    God’s eye to look before me,
    God’s ear to hear me,
    God’s word to speak for me,
    God’s hand to guide me,
    God’s sheild to protect me,
    God’s host to save me
    from snares of devils,
    from temptations of vices,
    from everyone who shall wish me ill from afar and near.

    I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
    against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
    against incantations of false prophets,
    against black laws of pagandom,
    against false laws of heretics,
    against craft of idolotry,
    against spells of witches, and smiths and wizards,
    against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

    Christ to shield me today
    against poison,
    against burning,
    against drowning,
    against wounding,
    so that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

    Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.

    I arise today
    through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
    through belief in the three-ness,
    through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.

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