PRAYERCAzT: The Lorica of St. Patrick

The Latin word loríca (note the accent… lo-REE-ka) 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 Loríca 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.

In one source, we read that Patrick composed it on Easter Saturday in 433 while traveling with some clerics to Tara, to shield them from the plots of druids (equivalent to ancient Democrats and Fishwrap readers and most liberals in general) and assassins.  Perpend: “Tunc vir sanctus composuit illum Hymnum patrio idiomate conscriptum, qui vulgo Feth-fiadha, et ab aliis lorica Patricii appellatur, et in summo abinde inter Hibernos habetur praetio; quia creditur, et multa experientia probatur, pie recitantes ab imminentibus animae, et corpore preservare periculis.

In the recording, below, I read the prayer as adapted in a common English format.

And now a more ancient version in Latin, that will not correspond perfectly to English versions you have heard.

For you students of Latin, the preposition ad can mean many things, including “next to” or “in the presence of”.  Temoria is the seat of the high kings where Patrick preached.  The hill of Temoria is, if I am not mistaken, Tara.

Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam.

Ad Temoriam hodie 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.

Want some Gaelic with facing English? Try HERE

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in PODCAzT, PRAYERCAzT: What Does The (Latin) Prayer Really Sound L, Saints: Stories & Symbols and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to PRAYERCAzT: The Lorica of St. Patrick

  1. Netmilsmom says:

    You don’t get much more powerful than that!
    St. Patrick pray for us.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Tara was originally spelled Temair, in the nominative, and Teamhra in the genitive. Iirc.

  3. Fr. Ó Buaidhe says:

    Thank you for posting this. I don’t have a Latin version of the prayer.
    BTW the very interesting version to which you have linked, looks to me to be in Old or Middle Irish (I can’t distinguish) but definitely not in modern Gaelic.

  4. acricketchirps says:

    Thank you for telling how to pronounce Lorica. Now do cuirass, please.

  5. KateD says:

    I love that our church has prayers that have been said since 433 and longer. It makes me feel unified with the church of 433…like we are walking forward in this battle with our arms locked together…with no barriers of time or distance to impede that unity, because of our common language.

    Thank you, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

    Now to read it in the Irish…..