The Lorica of Gildas

Book of Cerne
The Lorica of Loding in the Book of Cerne

The Lorica (Breastplate) of Gildas is also known as the Lorica of Loding, and is found in the Book of Cerne.

Trinity in unity, preserve me.
Unity in Trinity, have mercy on me.

I pray,
preserve me from all dangers
which overwhelm me
like the waves of the sea,
so that neither mortality
nor the vanity of the world
may sweep me away this year.
And I also ask,
send the high, mighty hosts of heaven,
that they not abandon me
to be destroyed by enemies,
but defend me now
with their strong shields
and that the heavenly army
advance before me:
cherubim and seraphim by the thousands,
and archangels Michael and Gabriel, likewise,
I ask, send these living thrones,
principalities and powers and angels,
so that I may be strong,
defended against the flood of strong enemies
in the next battle.

May Christ, whose terror scares away the foul throngs,
make with me a strong covenant.
God the unconquerable guardian,
defend me on every side by your power.
Free all my limbs,
with your safe shield protecting each,
so that the fallen demons cannot attack
against my sides or pierce me with their darts.
I pray, Lord Jesus Christ, be my sure armor.
Cover me, therefore, O God, with your strong breastplate.
Cover me all in all with my five senses,
so that, from my soles to the top of the head,
in no member, without within, may I be sick;
that, from my body, life be not cast out
by plague, fever, weakness, suffering,
Until, with the gift of old age from God,
departing from the flesh, be free from stain,
and be able to fly to the heights,
and, by the mercy of God, be borne in joy
to the heavenly cool retreats of his kingdom.

Source: The Lorica of Gildas, also known as the Lorica of Loding from the Book of Cerne. The section above was translated by Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers.

Note: The Lorica of Loding continues after the section above to appeal to the saints for protection, and then to pray, individually, for protection for all the parts of the body. The remainder of the Lorica is presented below, based on the translation by Hugh Williams in Gildas: The Ruin of Britain … together with the Lorica of Gildas, 1899.

Patriarchs four, prophets four,
apostles, watchmen of the ship of Christ,
and all the athlete martyrs, I ask–
And charge also all virgins,
faithful widows, and confessors,
to surround me by their safety,
and every evil perish from me.

May Christ, whose terror scares away the foul throngs,
make with me a strong covenant.
God the unconquerable guardian,
defend me on every side by your power.
Free all my limbs,
with your safe shield protecting each,
so that the fallen demons cannot attack
against my sides, or pierce me with their darts.
Skull, head, hair and eyes,
forehead, tongue, teeth and their covering,
neck, breast, side, bowels,
waist, buttocks and both hands.
For the crown of my head with its hair,
be the helmet of salvation on my head;
for forehead, eyes, triform brain,
nose, lip, face, temple;
for chin, beard, eye-brows, ears,
cheeks, lower cheeks, internasal, nostrils;
for the pupils, irises, eyelashes, eyelids,
chin, breathing, cheeks, jaws;
for teeth, tongue, mouth, throat,
uvula, windpipe, bottom of tongue, nape;
for the middle of the head, for cartilage,
neck—you, kind One, be near for defense.
I pray, Lord Jesus Christ, by the nine orders of holy angels,
Lord, be my sure armor,
for my limbs, for my entrails,
that you may drive back from me the invisible
nails of stakes, which enemies fashion.
Cover me, therefore, O God, with strong breastplate,
along with shoulder blades, shoulders and arms.
Cover my elbows and elbow-joints and hands,
fists, palms, fingers with their nails.
Cover back-bone and ribs with their joints,
hind-parts, back, nerves and bones.
Cover surface, blood and kidneys,
haunches, buttocks with the thighs.
Cover hams, calves, thighs,
knee-caps, hocks and knees.
Cover ankles, shins and heels,
legs, feet with the rests of the soles.
Cover the branches that grow ten together,
with the toes and their nails ten.
Cover chest, sternum, the little breast,
nipple, stomach, navel.
Cover belly, reins, genitals,
and paunch, and vital parts also of the heart.
Cover the triangular liver and fat,
spleen, armpits with covering.
Cover stomach, chest with the lungs,
veins, sinews, gall-bladder with
Cover flesh, groin with the inner parts,
spleen with the winding intestines.
Cover bladder, fat and all
the numberless orders of joints.
Cover hairs, and the rest of my limbs,
whose names, may be, I have passed by.
Cover me all in all with my five senses,
and with the ten doors formed for me,
so that, from my soles to the top of the head,
in no member, without within, may I be sick;
that, from my body, life be not cast out
by plague, fever, weakness, suffering,
Until, with the gift of old age from God,
I blot out my sins with good works;
And, in departing from the flesh, be free from stain,
and be able to fly to the heights,
and, by the mercy of God, be borne in joy
to the heavenly cool retreats of his kingdom.

 

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Dunkeld Litany

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The litany below is a shortened version of a litany which was sung at public processions of a group of ascetic monks called Culdees. It was used at the ancient Scottish monastery of Dunkeld.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

God, the Father in heaven, have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.

You are three, and yet one God, have mercy on us.

Be gracious, free us, Lord.
Be gracious, hear us, Lord.
Be gracious, spare us, Lord.

From every evil,
from every evil inclination,
from every impurity of heart and body,
from a haughty spirit,
from the evil of sickness,
from the snares of the devil,
from enemies to the Christian name,
from destructive storms,
from famine and nakedness,
from thieves and robbers,
from wolves and all dangerous animals,
from floods  of water,
from trials of death,
in the day of judgment, free us, Lord.

By your advent,
by your birth,
by your circumcision,
by your baptism,
by your passion,
by sending the counseling Spirit, free us, Lord.

We sinners pray, free us, Lord.

Holy Father, we pray, hear us.

To give us peace and concord,
to give us life and health,
to give us the fruits of the earth,
to protect our livestock from all pestilence,
to give us favorable weather,
to give us rain at the proper time,
to give us perseverance in good works,
to work true repentance in us,
to move us in charity for those in need,
to give us fervor in your service,
to give all Christian people peace and unity,
to keep us in the true faith and religion,
to preserve and spread your holy church,
to give long life and health to pastors, teachers and all leaders in the church,
to protect the leaders of our land from all enemies and snares.
to give them victory and long life,
to drive out the enemies of Christians from the earth,
to bring them to holy baptism,
to give all Christians your mercy,
to spare us,
to grant us mercy,
to look upon us, we pray, hear us.

Son of God, hear us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us, Lord.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

Christ conquers,
Christ rules,
Christ commands.

O Christ, hear us.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

O Christ, give us your grace,
O Christ, give us joy and peace.
O Christ, give us life and salvation.
Amen.

Let us pray.

Our Father…

Let us pray.
Almighty and gracious God, in your majesty remember us. Grant us forgiveness of all sins, increase your heavenly grace to us, and give us your help against all the snares of our enemies, seen and unseen. In the same way, protect our hearts by your command, so that after this mortal life, we may rejoice together with all your saints in the glory of the kingdom of God, serving our Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer, who has all power and rule, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Source: Kalendars of Scottish Saints by Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin, Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh, 1872, p. lvi-lxv.

Note: This litany is very similar to the Litany of All Saints, which was adapted by Martin Luther for his Latin Litany Corrected and his German Litany.

We Walk in the Light of this Bountiful Day

We walk in the light of this bountiful day
in the great strength of the most high God of gods,
in the favor of Christ,
in the light of the Holy Spirit,
in faith of the patriarchs,
in the service of the prophets,
in the peace of the apostles,
in the joy of angels,
in the splendor of the saints,
in the work of the faithful,
in the strength of the righteous,
in the witness of the martyrs,
in the chastity of the virgins,
in the wisdom of God,
in the patience of many,
in the denial of the flesh,
in the control of the tongue,
in the abundance of peace,
in the praise of the Trinity,
in the sharpness of senses,
in continuing good works,
in step with the Spirit,
in the words of God,
in many blessings.

In this is the way of all who labor for Christ,
who led the saints into joy forever after their deaths,
that they might listen to the voices of the angels,
praising God and saying:
“Holy, holy, holy.”

Source: The Book of Cerne 9th century. Translated for A Collection of Prayers.

In the original, “in the work of the faithful” is “in the work of the monks”

Original in Latin:

Ambulemus in prosperis huius diei luminis
IN uirtute altissimi dei deorum maximi
IN bene placito christi
IN luce spiritus sancti
IN fide patriarcharum
IN meritis prophetarum
IN pace apostolorum
IN gaudio angelorum
IN splendoribus sanctorum
IN operibus monachorum
IN uirtute iustorum
IN martyrio martyrum
IN castitate uirginum
IN dei sapientia
IN multa patientia
IN carnis abstinentia
IN linguae continentia
IN pacis habundantia
IN trinitatis laudibus
IN acutis sensibus
IN semper bonis actibus
IN formis spiritalibus
IN diuinis sermonibus
IN benedictionibus

IN his est iter omnium pro christo laborantium
qui deducit sanctos post obitum sempiternum in gaudium
Ut a audiam uocem Angelorum
deum laudantium ac dicentium
sanctus sanctus sanctus

The Lord’s Prayer from the Book of Cerne

Father, in your tranquil world above,
may your kingdom come,
reveal your nourishing light.
Let your clear will be done
on earth and in heaven.
What is needed for life today,
the substance of holy bread,
provide to us soon.
Forgive countless debts of our wicked errors,
no different than we pardon our debtors.
Oh, keep temptation of the devil far away,
and likewise raise us up from evil
to light at your right hand.

Source: The Book of Cerne, 9th Century, translated by Paul C. Stratman for A Collection of Prayers.

Orginal in Latin, from The prayer book of Aedeluald the bishop: commonly called the Book of Cerne, ed. Arthur Benedict Kuypers.

Pater alte tui tranquillaque mundo –
Adueniat regnumque tuum lux alma recludat –
In caelo et in terra tua fiat clara uoluntas –
Uitalisque hodie sancti substantia panis –
Proueniat nobis tua mox largit(i)o soluat –
Innumera indulgens erroris debita praui  –
Et nos haut aliter concedere fenore nostris –
Tetrisae ua procul temtatio daemonis absit –
Aeque malis tua nos in lucem dextera tollat –

Always Lead Me to Seek Your Face

O Lord,
give me
purity of lips,
a clean and innocent heart,
and rightness of action.

Give me
humility, patience, abstinence,
chastity, prudence, justice,
courage and self-control.

Give me
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and godliness,
and of your fear.

Always lead me to seek your face
with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind.
Let me have a contrite and humble heart in your presence—
to prefer nothing to your love.

Most high, eternal, and ineffable Wisdom,
drive away from me the darkness of blindness and ignorance.
Most high and eternal Strength, rescue me.
Most high and eternal Courage, help me.
Most high and incomprehensible Light, illuminate me,
Most high and infinite Mercy, have mercy on me. [315.]

Source:  Gallican, from the time of Charlemagne, freely modified from  Ancient Collects, ed. William Bright p. 96#1,

Remind Us of Your Divine Works

God of mercy,
the day is now far spent,
and the night is approaching.
Remind us of your divine works,
that we may be able
to renounce the works of darkness;
for you live and reign
with your Son and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Antiphonary of Bangor, ninth century

Source of this version: Translated and reworked from the Latin text for A Collection of Prayers.

© 2016 Paul C. Stratman

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Translation of Prayer “Evolutis nunc diei temporibuss / God of mercy, the day is now far spent,” by Paul C. Stratman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact for any commercial usage.

Original in Latin:

33. Ad intium noctis.

Evolutis nunc diei temporibus, nocturnis que spatiis supervenientibus, Dei misericordiam deprecemur, ut suppleti divinis sensibus tenebrarum operibus renuntiare possimus, Qui regnas &c

We Hear Your Mercy in the Morning

O Lord,
you are the Light in our darkness,
Creator of all of the elements,
Forgiver of sins.
Your mercy is great
toward those who seek you
with all their heart.
O Lord, we hear your mercy in the morning,
blot out our secret sins;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source: Antiphonary of Bangor, ninth century

Source of this version: Translated and reworked from the Latin text for A Collection of Prayers.

© 2016 Paul C. Stratman

Creative Commons License
Translation of Prayer “Tu es, Domine, illuminator caliginum / O Lord, you are the Light in our darkness,” by Paul C. Stratman is under under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

“we hear your mercy in the morning” is a reference to Psalm 143:8

“blot out our secret sins” is probably a reference to Psalm 19:12

Original in Latin:

38. Ad matutinum

Tu es, Domine, illuminator caliginum, conditorque elementorum, remissor criminum, misericordia tua, Domine, magna est super eos qui te toto corde requirunt. Majestas tua, Domine, mane nos exaudiat, et deleat delicta nostra quae tibi non sunt abdita;