“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me…” The mighty Lorica of Saint Patrick

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!

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 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.  Suggest it to your priests.

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 hinc,
Christus illinc,
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,
Let Your Salvation, O Lord, be with us always.]
Amen. Amen.

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles of Gower Abbey have a Lorica of St Patrick on their Angels and Saints at Ephesus album.  US HERE – UK HERE

Concerning the translation of the Lorica, one of the most accurate translations of the original, 8th-century Old Irish is here: HERE


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me…” The mighty Lorica of Saint Patrick | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  2. VForr says:

    I started reciting this one as part of my morning prayers and it has made a difference.

  3. Many thanks for posting this. It’s been on my favorites list for some time. Two comments:

    1) You need to fix the URL that links to the Thesaurus palaeohibernicus

    2) “Temoriam”, the word puzzles me. It is not in any Latin dictionary I have or have access to. Comments, Fr.? I see it mirrors a word in the Old Irish, but it still seems out of place in the Latin.

    [If memory serves, it has something to do with the location (ad + acc) and the hill of Tara. However, the readers here amaze me with their knowledge. Perhaps someone else knows.]

  4. TonyO says:

    What a beautiful, powerful prayer. Not a prayer for sissies: it exudes boldness, while insisting on relying on God’s power. Thanks, Fr. Z.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The placename “Tara” in English is “Teamhra” in Middle Irish, “Temra” in Old Irish.

    There were a lot of single vowel sounds in Old Irish, that turned into dipthongs in Middle Irish, and then picked one of the two vowels to prioritize (depending on regional dialect) in Early Modern Irish. You not only see this in Tara’s name, but in the common given name “Sean,” which was pronounced “Shaun” in the south of Ireland and “Shane” in the north.

    (There’s also a ton of declensions for placenames, depending on whether it’s Old, Middle, Early Modern, or Modern Irish; or if it’s Scottish Gaelic instead.)

    So “Temoriam” is indeed “at Tara.”

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Oh, and certain internal consonants in Irish always change their sounds. This was not written out in early Irish texts; you just knew. Later it was represented by a dot over the consonant. Nowadays they spell it out.

    So Temra would really be Temhra.

    Sometimes mh is V, sometimes W, and sometimes it’s basically silent.

    I don’t really understand the whys and wherefores of that, but it’s a thing with a lot of those internal consonants. (Which is part of why musicians pronounce “bodhran” so many different ways, depending on what part of Ireland they’re from — or where the person who taught them the word was from.)

    Irish also believes in adding extra syllables that do not appear in the word as spelled, so you just have to memorize those ones.

  7. Patrick says:

    I’m a bit out of my depth here but:

    Temoria is a proper noun “Hill of Tara”, so the construction “apud Temoriam” is stating something to the effect of “at the Hill of Tara”. Tara was the seat of the High Kings (if memory serves) and the Stone of Destiny and Mound of Hostages stand there. The proclamation this prayer at Tara would be a symbolic proclamation over the whole of the island.

    The original Irish ‘Atomriug’ (“I myself”, approximately) looks similar (to “Apud Temoriam”), as well, so I wonder if there’s something of a homophonic relationship/false cognate going on.

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Anyway… the early medieval Latin translator was either taking the various Old Irish forms of “I arise” (“Atomriug” which would be pronounced “Atomhriugh”, IIRC) as being forms of “Tara,” or was working off a different variant of the poem, or was making a deliberate stylistic choice to change “I arise” to “At Tara,” “with Tara,” and so on.

    And possibly all of that, with a horrible pun too.

  9. Charivari Rob says:

    This source says Temoria was the palace at Tara.


    If my uncle was still around (may he rest in peace) he’d have been an excellent one to ask. He’d have known or been able to suggest a good source. Too late in the evening to phone Mom now and ask her, but I will sometime in the next couple of days.

    My guess (not being any sort of a linguist) is it conveys keeping his eye on the “prize”. Prize in this case being the evangelization and conversion of the King and people there.
    I rise…
    (still) looking at Tara…
    (still) going to Temoria…
    (not) running the other direction…
    because of (X)…
    with the help of (Y)…
    in spite of (Z)…

  10. Fr. Kelly says:

    Temoriam is an attempted Latinization of the Irish Hill now called Tara.
    In the ancient spelling it appears somewhat closer.

    It would be akin to the French speaker’s attempt to write the name of the state between Indiana and Iowa as Illinois

  11. iamlucky13 says:

    Thanks for sharing the prayer again this year. I prayed it first in English so I could properly understand it, and then again in Latin in union with the Church throughout the ages, perhaps including St. Patrick himself.

    Since my Latin is very limited, I simply assumed Temoriam was somehow related to either tempus or memoriam. Since I didn’t see anything in the Latin I could associate with “arise” in the English, I thought maybe there was a metaphor being drawn between waking up and remembering. A bit of a stretch perhaps, but I was making do with what little I knew.

    I really enjoyed the further explanations everyone added, beyond simply clarifying it referred to a specific, significant hill.

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