St. Patrick’s Breastplate: Armor for our time

During these dark days, we can benefit from the use of this prayer, called the Breastplate, or Loríca of St. Patrick, “The Cry of the Deer” (Latin Lorica is pronounced lo-REE-ka).  It is said that St. Patrick (+461) sang this when an ambush was set for him so that he could not go to Tara to evangelize.  Patrick and companions were then hidden from the sight of their enemies, who thought that they were deer when they passed by.  However, some scholars date the prayer to the 8th c.  Either way, this is a mickle, puissant prayer!

One could pray this prayer each and every morning.

Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam.

The Latin word loríca means “a leather cuirass; a defense of any kind; a breastwork, parapet”.  In effect, it means “armor”.   “Loríca” is also associated with an rhythmic invocation or prayer especially for protection as when going into battle.

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

One could pray this prayer each and every morning, upon arising.

On St. Patrick’s Day, instead of indulging in meat even on Sunday of Lent and drinking green beer, pastors of parishes should invite people to come to Church for confessions, recitation of the Rosary, Mass, Exposition, the praying of the Lorica, Benediction.

For your convenience…

Latin English
Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam. The Lorica, Breastplate, of St. Patrick (The Cry of the Deer)


Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis,
Credo in Trinitatem sub unitate numinis elementorum.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
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.
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 judgment of doom.
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.
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.
Apud Temoriam hodie potentiam coeli,
Lucem solis,
Candorem nivis,
Vim ignis,
Rapiditatem fulguris,
Velocitatem venti,
Profunditatem maris,
Stabilitatem terrae,
Duritiam petrarum.
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.
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.
I arise today, through
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 guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
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.
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 idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christus me protegat hodie
Contra venenum,
Contra combustionem,
Contra demersionem,
Contra vulnera,
Donec meritus essem multum praemii.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison,
against burning,
Against drowning,
against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
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.
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,
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.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis. I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Credo in Trinitatem sub Unitate numinis elementorum.
Domini est salus,
Domini est salus,
Christi est salus,
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
[Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from Christ,
Your Salvation, O Lord, is with us always.]
Amen. Amen.


Daily recitation? Seems a good thing. Especially for you IRISH out there. Make more of you heritage.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: St. Patrick’s Breastplate: Armour for our time | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  2. Robin says:

    St. Patrick may have had a hand in my conversion, since I became Catholic after a trip to Ireland (and no I’m not Irish). If so, thank you, St. Patrick!! It must break his heart to see what Ireland has come to.
    I think this would be a very powerful way to start off the daily battle we all face.

  3. AMEN! St. Patrick, pray for us.

  4. Fr. Kelly says:

    This is my customary Morning Offering.

    I use the translation found in the wonderful novelized biography _The Deer Cry_ written by William G Schofield and published by Longmanns Greene sometime between the World Wars.

    To my mind, this is the most accurate biography of St. Patrick I have read — far better than the raft of revisionist stuff that has come out in the last 70 or so years that try to turn him into either a legendary figure to be dismissed, or a rebel against the institutional Church (They use the lying Council of Whitby for this, or an autocrat who laid the baseline for a dictatorial Church to follow him.
    This treats Patrick in faith respectfully and believably. His use of the sources is thorough, accurate and nuanced by a true to life experience of the Faith. Particularly powerful for our time is the chapter when Patrick throws down the idol Crom Cruach.

    As evidence of his careful use of sources, he correctly recognizes the Late Antique/Early Medieval use of the name Britain for that corner of modern france which contains Brittany.

  5. Fr. Kelly says:

    I just looked it up, and the book I recommended is
    “The Deer Cry: A Novel of Patrick of Eireann” by William G Schofield. It was published 1948.

    IIt is available used on Amazon ans elsewhere, but I would love to see it come back into print.

  6. This is it:


  7. capchoirgirl says:

    This Irish girl REALLY likes this as a morning offering! Good idea, Fr. Kelly, thanks!

  8. Thomas S says:

    Thank you for the recommendation, Fr. Kelly, I just ordered a copy.

    I have the breastplate on a wooden Celtic cross, laser engraved, from Holy Nativity Convent (Orthodox) in Brookline, MA. It’s quite nice. Here’s the link for anyone interested:

  9. jaykay says:

    Thank you for the book suggestion, Fr. Kelly, and thanks Fr. Z for the Kindle link, which I shall use.

  10. jaykay says:

    Ah, just hardcover. Not surprising, on a book of that vintage. Anyway, I’ll try the excellent Central Catholic Library in Dublin, who may have a copy. Would really love to read it, based on Fr. Kelly’s rec.

  11. ex seaxe says:

    The Manx artist Archibald Knox, best known for his work for Liberty & Co, spent 20 years working on (off and on) an illuminated version of the Lorica. Sample pages can be seen on the Manx iMuseum website here:

  12. THREEHEARTS says:

    Fr Kelly may I ask; are you a byzantine priest of any kind?

  13. Fr. Kelly says:

    I’m a Roman Catholic Diocesan Priest

  14. LeeGilbert says:

    Here is the version our family prayed as a night prayer for many years. I had gotten very tired of the shamrockery of “Irish Day” on this feast, and so put this up on the bulletin boards of the apartment buildings of our complex. Then it occurred to me that it might be a great night prayer for the feast of St. Padraig. The next evening our kids begged (sic) that we memorize it and pray it nightly and so we did. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, couldn’t we please memorize this?” I thought they were putting me on, but no . . . . With our having thrown out the TV and with reading the lives of the saints nightly, the love of learning and the desire for God had taken root in their hearts. It was so glorious. Enchanted evenings. If only I could put it in a bottle and sell it to bishops, the baptism of the imagination.

    I bind me today,
    God’s might to direct me,
    God’s power to protect me,
    God’s wisdom for learning,
    God’s eye for discerning,
    God’s ear for my hearing,
    God’s word for my clearing.

    God’s hand for my cover,
    God’s path to pass over,
    God’s buckler to guard me,
    God’s army to ward me,
    Against snares of the devil.
    Against vice’s temptation,
    Against wrong inclination,
    Against men who plot evil,
    Anear or afar, with many or few

    Christ near,
    Christ here,
    Christ be with me,
    Christ beneath me,
    Christ within me,
    Christ behind me,
    Christ be o’er me,
    Christ before me.

    Christ in the left and the right,
    Christ hither and thither,
    Christ in the sight,
    Of each eye that shall seek me,
    In each ear that shall hear,
    In each mouth that shall speak me—
    Christ not the less In each heart I address.
    I bind me today on the Triune—I call,
    With faith in the Trinity— Unity—God over all.

    “This, Dr. Sigerson’s rendering of the hymn is in the same measure, metre, and rhythm of the original”

    From The Story of the Irish Race by Seamus Mcmanus (Old Greenwich, Connecticut: Devin-Adair, 1921) 114.

  15. grateful says:

    It’s only 4:30 and already 8438 downloads.
    What an incredibly beautiful prayer.
    and with music and pictures:

  16. jaykay says:

    Grateful: very beautiful, thank you.

    The well-known Anglican hymn-writer Mrs. Alexander made a lovely version of the Loríca:

    “I bind unto myself today,
    the strong name of the Trinity,
    by invocation of the same,
    the Three in One and the One in Three”

    It goes into the well-known melody “Christ be with me…” before reverting to the very impressive main theme. It’s mainly sung in the Anglican Churches over here, and I wish our choir would do it (our Church being dedicated to St. Patrick) but not so far… :(

  17. Byzshawn says:


    The music for the hymn you posted is by the great Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. One of my absolute favorites. If you have a moment listen to “For lo, I raise up. . .” It will give you chills!

  18. jaykay says:

    Byshawn: indeed, the setting is by Stanford and Mrs. Alexander wrote the translation. Yes, I’m familiar with pretty much all Stanford’s choral work and have sung most of it. “Beati quorum via” is a personal favourite.

  19. PostCatholic says:

    Very late with this, but a Modern Irish translation of the Fáed Fíada

    Éirím inniu,
    Tré neart tréan -glaoch ar an Trionóid,
    Tré creideamh i dTriaracht,
    Tré admhail Aondacht
    Cruthaitheoir na Cruthaíochta.

    Éirím inniu,
    Tré neart giniúin Chríost agus a bhaisteadh,
    A chéasta agus a adhlactha,
    A aiséirí agus a dheasghabhála,
    Tré cumhacht a fhilleadh chun breithiúnais.

    Éirím inniu
    I neart grá Seirifim,
    In umhlaíocht aingeal,
    I bhfreastal Ardaingeal,
    I ndóchas aiséirí chun luach saothair,
    In urnaithe uasalaithreacha,
    I dtairngireacht na bhfáithe,
    I dteagasc na nAspal,
    I gcreideamh na gcreidmheach,
    I neamhchiontacht maighdean,
    I ngniomhartha na bhfírean.

    Éirím inniú
    I gcumhacht na bhFlaitheas,
    I soillse gréine,
    I ngile na gealaí,
    In áilleacht tine,
    I mire lasrach,
    I luas gaoithe,
    I ndoimhneacht farraige,
    I mbuanseasmhacht talún,
    I ndaingneacht carraige.

    Éirím inniú
    Neart Dé dom’ stiúradh,
    Cumhacht Dé dom’ chumhdach,
    Críonnacht Dé dom’ threorú’
    Súil Dé ag faire dom,
    Cluas Dé ag éisteacht liom,
    Briathar Dé ag labhairt liom,
    Lámh Dé dom’ chosaint,
    Slí Dé dom’tharraingt,
    Sciath Dé mar dhídem dom,
    Slua Dé dom’chaomhnú
    Ar ghaiste diabhal,
    Ar chathú duáilcí,
    Ar mhianta mí-ionraic,
    Ar lucht mo mhillte,
    I gcéin is i gcóngar,
    Im aonar nó i gcomhluadar.

    Glaoim chugam inniú na mór-chumhachtaí
    In aghaidh náimhde coirp agus anama,
    In aghaidh asarlaíocht fáithe bréige,
    In aghaidh droch-dhlíthe págánacha,
    In aghaidh claon-reachta eiriceach
    In aghaidh adhradh íola,
    In aghaidh geasa cailleach, gaibhne agus draoithe,
    In aghaidh gach eolas a thruaillíonn coirp agus anam duine.

    Críost do mo chumhdach inniú
    Ar nimh,ar loscadh,
    Ar bháthadh, ar ghoineadh,
    Go dtaga chugam luach mo shaothair.

    Críost liom, Críost romham,
    Críost i mo dhiaidh, Críost ionam,
    Críost fúm, Críost ós mo chionn,
    Críost ar mo dheis, Críost ar mo chlé,
    Críost i leithead, Críost i bhfaide, Críost in airde
    Criost mar a luím, Críost mar a suím,
    Críost mar a n-éirím, Críost i gcroí gach duine a smaoiníonn orm,
    Críost i mbéal gach duine a labhraíonn liom,
    Críost i súil gach duine a fhéachann orm,
    Críost i gcluas gach duine a éisteann liom.

    Éirím inniú,
    Tré neart tréan -glaoch ar an Tríonóid,
    Tré creideamh i dTriaracht,
    Tré admhail Aondacht Cruthaitheoir na Cruthaíochta.

    Is leis an Tiarna an Slánú, is leis an Tiarna an Slánú.
    Is le Críost an Slánú.
    Go raibh do Shlánú linn de shíor, a Chríost.

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