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

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.

 

AncientCelticChAd

Published by

pastorstratman

Lutheran pastor serving St. Stephen's in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

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