Alexander’s Breastplate

This lorica (breastplate) prayer is called “Alexander’s Breastplate” because it is between two poems about Alexander the Great in the Welsh Book of Taliesin.

On the face of the earth
his equal was not born,
Three persons of God,
one gentle Son
in the glorious Trinity.
Son of the Godhead,
Son of the Manhood,
one wonderful Son.
Son of God, a fortress,
Son of the blessed Mary,
Son, Servant, Lord.
Great his destiny,
great God supreme,
in heavenly glory.
Of the race of Adam
and Abraham,
and of the line of David,
the eloquent psalmist,
was he born.
By a word he healed
the blind and deaf
from every ailment;
the gluttonous, vain
iniquitous, vile, perverse,
to rise toward the Trinity
by their redemption.
The Cross of Christ
is our shining breastplate
against every ailment.
Against every hardship
may it certainly be
our city of refuge.

Source: Book of Taliesin, Welsh, 10th-14th Century, excerpt
The Four Ancient Books of Wales, 1868, p. 557-558.

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church.

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

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The Lorica of St. Fursa

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The Lorica of St. Fursey begins in the right column, by the capital R.

May the guiding hands of God be on my shoulders,
may the presence of the Holy Spirit be on my head,
may the sign of Christ be on my forehead,
may the voice of the Holy Spirit be in my ears,
may the smell of the Holy Spirit be in my nose,
may the sight of the company of heaven be in my eyes,
may the speech of the company of heaven be in my mouth,
may the work of the church of God be in my hands,
may the serving of God and my neighbor be in my feet,
may God make my heart his home,
and may I belong to God, my Father, completely.

Source: Lorica of St. Fursa (Fursey), 7th Century.

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

Original in old Irish:

Robé mainrechta Dé forsind [f]ormna-sa,
robé torruma in spirta naoimh for in cend-sa,
robé airde Críst isin édan-sa,
robé ésdecht in spirta náimh isna clúasaib-sea,
robé bolltanugad in spirta nóib isna srónaib-sea,
robé imfaiccsin fer nime isna súilib-sea,
robé comlabra fer nime isna bélaib-sea,
robé lubair eculsa Dé isna lámaib-sea,
robé les Dé ocus a choimnesa isna cosaib-sea,
roba locc do Día in cride-sea,
rob la Día athair uile in duine-sea!

Credo ocus pater.

Source: https://celt.ucc.ie//published/G400079/index.html

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. 

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

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.

 

The Lorica of Mugron

This Lorica of Mugron asks for the protection of the cross of Christ on all parts of the body. The idea is that Christ fills all our lives, so we do not need to be afraid. In one source, this Lorica was called “The Lorica of Columkille” (or Columba).

The cross of Christ upon this face,
and over this ear,
The cross of Christ upon this eye.
The cross of Christ upon this nose.
The cross of Christ upon this mouth.
The cross of Christ upon this tongue.
The cross of Christ upon this throat.
The cross of Christ upon this back.
The cross of Christ upon this side.
The cross of Christ upon this belly …
The cross of Christ upon my hands,
from my shoulders to my palms.
The cross of Christ over my legs,
The cross of Christ with me before me,
The cross of Christ with me after me,
The cross of Christ to face every trouble
in valley and hill.
The cross of Christ as I look east.
The cross of Christ toward the sunset.
In the north and south. never stopping,
the cross of Christ always there.
The cross of Christ over my teeth,
to protect from harm and danger.
The cross of Christ over my stomach.
The cross of Christ over my heart.
The cross of Christ up to highest heaven.
The cross of Christ down to earth.
There shall come no evil nor suffering
to my body or to my soul.
The cross of Christ at my sitting.
The cross of Christ at my lying.
The cross of Christ all my strength,
until we reach the King of heaven.
The cross of Christ over my community.
The cross of Christ over my church.
The cross of Christ in the next world.
The cross of Christ in this.
From the top of my head
to the sole of my foot,
O Christ, in all trouble,
I trust in the protection of your cross.
Until the day I die
before returning to the earth,
I shall trace on myself
the cross of Christ upon this face.

Source: From the Lorica of Mugron,  d. 980-981, composite translation, based mostly on The Irish Liber Hymnorum, by John Henry Bernard, 1898, p. 212

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

Original in old Irish:

Cros Chríst tarsin n-gnúis-se, tarsin g-clúais fon cóir-se.
Cros Chríst tarsin súil-se.
Cros Chríst tarsin sróin-se.
Cros Chríst tarsin m-bél-sa.
Cros Chríst tarsin cráes-sa.
Cros Chríst tarsin cúl-sa.
Cros Chríst tarsin táeb-sa.
Cros Chríst tarsin m-broinn-se (is amlaid as chuimse).
Cros Chríst tarsin tairr-se.
Cros Chríst tarsin n-druim-se.
Cros Chríst tar mo láma óm gúaillib com basa.
Cros Chríst tar mo lesa.
Cros Chríst tar mo chasa.
Cros Chríst lem ar m’ agaid.
Cros Chríst lem im degaid.
Cros Chríst fri cach n-doraid
eitir fán is telaig.
Cros Chríst sair frim einech
Cros Chríst síar fri fuined.
Tes, túaid cen nach n-anad,
Cros Chríst cen nach fuirech.
Cros Chríst tar mo déta
nám-tháir bét ná bine.
Cros Chríst tar mo gaile.
Cros Chríst tar mo chride.
Cros Chríst súas fri fithnim.
Cros Chríst sís fri talmain.
Ní thí olc ná urbaid
dom chorp ná dom anmain.
Cros Chríst tar mo suide.
Cros Chríst tar mo lige.
Cros Chríst mo bríg uile
co roisem Ríg nime.
Cros Chríst tar mo muintir.
Cros Chríst tar mo thempal.
Cros Chríst isin altar.
Cros Chríst isin chentar.
O mullach mo baitse
co ingin mo choise,
a Chríst, ar cach n-gábad
for snádad do chroise.
Co laithe mo báis-se,
ría n-dol isin n-úir-se,
cen (ainis) do-bér-sa
Cros Chríst tarsin n-gnúis-se.

Be My Vision

Image result for celtic cross wikimedia commons

Be my vision, O Lord of my heart.
There is none other but the King of the seven heavens.

Be my meditation by day and night.
May it be you that I behold even in my sleep.

Be my speech, be my understanding.
Be with me, may I be with you.

Be my Father, may I be your son.
May you be mine, may I be yours.

Be my battle-shield, be my sword.
Be my dignity, be my delight.

Be my shelter, be my stronghold.
Raise me up to the company of the angels.

Be every good to my body and soul.
Be my kingdom in heaven and on earth.

Be solely the chief love of my heart.
Let there be none other, O high King of heaven,

Until I am able to pass into your hands,
My treasure, my beloved, through the greatness of your love.

Be alone my noble and wondrous estate.
I seek not men nor lifeless wealth.

Be the constant guardian of every possession and every life.
For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of you.

Your love in my soul and in my heart —
Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens.

O King of the seven heavens grant me this —
Your love to be in my heart and in my soul.

With the King of all, with him after victory won by piety,
May I be in the kingdom of heaven O brightness of the son.

Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentations.
Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch.

O heart of my heart, whatever befall me,
O ruler of all, be my vision.

Source: Attributed to Dallán Forgaill, 6th-8th century
English prose translation by Mary Byrne (1905), adapted
A poetic translation, “Be Thou My Vision” appears in many hymnals.
This prayer has its own page on Wikipedia.com.

Included in Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.  Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

A poetic translation into modern Irish is sung by Moya (Maire) Brennan:

 

Original in old Irish:

Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride:
ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime.

Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló ‘s i n-aidche;
rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche.

Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu;
rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu.

Rop tussu m’athair, rob mé do mac-su;
rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su.

Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb;
rop tussu m’ordan, rop tussu m’airer.

Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen;
rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel.

Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain;
rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim ‘s i talmain.

Rop tussu t’ áenur sainserc mo chride;
ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime.

Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma,
mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda.

Rop tussu t’ áenur m’ urrann úais amra:
ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba.

Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul,
mar marb oc brénad, ar t’ fégad t’ áenur.

Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride,
tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime.

Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime,
do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.

Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire;
ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine

A Athair inmain, cluinte mo núall-sa:
mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa.

A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire,
a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

I Arise Today (St. Bridget)

I arise today
through a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s eyes to watch over me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to shelter me,
God’s host to secure me.

Source: St. Bridget of Kildare (Bridget of Gael)

Source of this version: http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm

Also found here: http://www.worldprayers.org/archive/prayers/adorations/i_arise_today.html

Similar to “I Arise Today” Celtic prayer and St. Patrick’s Breastplate

But wait… there’s more!

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.

I Arise Today (Celtic Prayer)

I arise today
embraced in the arms
of God the Father,
empowered by the strength
of God the Spirit,
immersed in the love
of God the Son.
I arise today
in the company
of the Trinity,
Father, Spirit and Son.
I arise today.

Source: Unknown, attributed as “A Celtic Prayer”

Source of this version: http://stoswaldsoswestry.org.uk/prayer-room/morning-and-evening-prayers/

See: St. Patrick’s Breastplate.

But wait… there’s more!

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is a collection of prayers from the time of Patrick (d. ca. 460-493) to the Synod of Whitby (664), and also from the Celtic Christian tradition that remained after Whitby. A few of the prayers in this book may be familiar from their appearance in other prayer books. Some may be appearing in English for the first time. All prayers (with one exception) are rendered or revised into contemporary English with the hopes that they will be useful in private and corporate worship. Includes prayers from The Antiphonary of Bangor, The Lorrha-Stowe Missal, The Book of Cerne, The Book of Dimma, St. Patrick, St. Columba and many other sources.

Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church is available in paperback through Amazon.com. It is also available for Amazon Kindle.