For Unity

God the Father,
source of Divinity,
good beyond all that is good,
fair beyond all that is fair,
in you is calmness, peace and unity.
Repair the things that divide us from each other
and restore our unity of love
like your divine love.
And as you are above all things,
unite us in goodness and love
that we may be spiritually one,
with you and with each other,
through your peace which makes all things peaceful
and through the grace, mercy, and tenderness
of your only Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source: Dionysius of the Syrian Jacobite Church, 9th Century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954. (New Ancient Collects, #264)

For Forgiveness

God and King,
by your mercy,
pardon the sins of your servant __________.
Deliver him from all the bonds of the enemy
that he may cling to your commandments with all his heart,
and always love you alone with all his strength,
and one day be counted with your blessed ones;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Old Rheims Manuscript, 9th century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954. (New Ancient Collects, #370)

 

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An Acknowledgment of God’s Supremacy

O Father of that Son who has awakened us,
you still urge us out of the sleep of our sins,
and call us to become yours.
To you, Lord, we pray,
you, the supreme truth,
for all truth that is, is from you.
You we implore, O Lord,
the highest wisdom,
through you all who are wise derive their wisdom.
You are the supreme joy,
and from you all who are happy derive their pleasure.
You are the highest good,
and from you all beauty springs.
You are the intellectual light,
and from you we derive our understanding.
To you, O God, we call and speak.
Hear us, O Lord,
for you are our God and our Lord,
our Father and our creator,
our ruler and our hope,
our wealth and our honor,
our home, our country,
our salvation, and our life.
Hear, hear us, O Lord.
Few of your servants comprehend you,
but at least we love you,
yes, we love you above all other things.
We seek you, we follow you,
we are ready to serve you.
We desire to remain under your power,
for you are the Sovereign of all.
Command us as you will;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Source: Alfred the Great, 9th century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954.

For Strength and Guidance

Lord God Almighty,
shaper and ruler of all creatures,
we pray for your great mercy,
that you guide us towards you,
for we cannot find our way.
And guide us to your will, to the need of our soul,
for we cannot do it ourselves. [1]
And make our mind steadfast in your will
and aware of our soul’s need.
Strengthen us against the temptations of the devil,
and remove from us all lust and every unrighteousness,
and shield us against our foes, seen and unseen.
Teach us to do your will,
that we may inwardly love you before all things with a pure mind.
For you are our maker and our redeemer,
our help, our comfort, our trust, our hope;
praise and glory be to you now and forever.

Source: Alfred the Great, 9th century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Middle Ages, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1954. (New Ancient Collects, #264)

[1] Original translation: “that Thou guide us better than we have done, towards Thee, and guide us to Thy will, to the need of our soul, better than we can ourselves.”

 

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In Your Mercy, Lead Me

The Evangelist Mark, from the Book of Cerne

Almighty God and Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I pray, in your mercy lead me: where thousands of angels always reflect the exceeding glory of the King of kings, praising him;
where the twenty-four elders fall before the throne of the Lamb of God, praising him;
where the four living creatures surround the throne, and every eye sees his wonderful works;
where the four rivers flow from their one source;
where the patriarchs, the first to believe in God, rule with him in his divine city;
where the prophets, full of the pure Holy Spirit, praise Christ together in the purest light of truth;
where Christ with the apostles Peter and Paul rule, sitting on their thrones;
where the flower of the state of virginity of the innocent with the pleasantness of the people of flourishing are following the Lamb;
where the martyrs of Christ are dressed in white robes and singing and waving palm branches;
where the holy, pure virgins hold palms for the king of kings;
where the crowd of saints sings to the Lord with constant peace in the land of the living;
where there is happiness;
where there is security;
where there is always health
where there is purity of mind;
where there is no pain;
where there are no problems, no anger, no pain of labor;
where there is no hunger;
where there is no deep water;
where no fire burns;
where no one perishes;
where there is no old age;
where youth flourishes;
where there is no groaning;
where the poor do not weep;
where there is eternal peace;
where there is joy;
where there is no trouble;
where there is true life;
where there is no bitter death;
where it is always divine;
where no one knows evil;
where love is strong;
where the nourishing glory of Christ the King reigns;
where there is true joy;
where the cup is full of constant life;
where the clear name of Christ rules upon his throne;
where all things are made right;
where there is salvation for all;
where there is unity;
where there is Trinity;
where there is real truth;
where there is divine virtue;
where there is the God of gods;
where there is the Lord of lords;
where there is the King of kings;
where there is the choir of heaven;
where there is the Light from Light;
where there is the source of life, flowing in the heights of the city;
where the voice of praise resounds for the Lord;
where there is no darkness of night;
where the King of kings rules forever and ever.

Source: The Book of Cerne, p. 106-108

Original in Latin:

Deus pater omnipotens domine caeli ac terrae deduc me obsecro te per misericordiam pietatis tuae
Ubi resplendent semper angelorum milia regem regum laudantes cum ingenti gloria .
Ubi uiginti quattuor seniores sunt proni agnum dei laudantes ante conspectum throni .
Ubi mystica quattuor animalia tota oculis plena tarn mira magnalia .
Ubi ilia flumina bis bina manantia uno e fontis rore inrigati .
Ubi patriarchae primi credentes deo ciues urbis diuinae regnantes sine (fine) cum eo .
Ubi prophetae puri spiritu sancto pleni christum conlaudant clara causa luminis ueri .
Ubi sancta maria sanctis cum uirginibus uitae fruentes prmiis & in thronis sublimibus .
Ubi petrus et Paulus christi cum apostolis regnant cum rege sedentes in cathhedris .
Ubi sequuntur agnum turbae innocentium uirginitatis flore amoeno florentium .
Ubi martyrum chori amicti stolis albis christo canentes habentes uitae palmam .
Ubi uirgines sanctae castitatis nimiam habent palmam gloriae regni regiae .
Ubi sanctorum turbae domino canentium gaudent cum pace firma in terra uiuentium .
Ubi est felicitas .
Ubi et securitas .
Ubi semper sanitas .
Ubi mentis puritas .
Ubi nullus dolor .
Ubi nee mentes nee irae furor Nee dolor laborantibus .
Ubi nullus esurit .
Ubi nee ullus bibit .
Ubi ignis non urit .
Ubi nullus peribit .
Ubi senex non manet .
Ubi iuuenis florebit .
Ubi lesus non gemit .
Ubi pauper non plorat .
Ubi pax perpetua .
Ubi et laetitia .
Ubi nee molestia .
Ubi uita est uera .
Ubi nee mors amara .
Ubi semper diuina .
Ubi non nocent mala .
Ubi caritas firma .
Ubi alma gloria christi regis regiae .
Ubi lumen diuinum .
Ubi gaudium uerum .
Ubi poculum purum uitae perennis plenum .
Ubi nomen praeclarum Christi regnantis (in) thronum .
Ubi est rector rerum .
Ubi salus cunctorum .
Ubi unitas .
Ubi diuinitas .
Ubi trinitas .
Ubi ueritas uera .
Ubi uirtus diuina .
Ubi deus deorum .
Ubi dominus dominorum .
Ubi rex regum .
Ubi caelorum chori .
Ubi lux lucis .
Ubi fons uiuus fulget in summa poli .
Ubi uox laudis resonat domino regi .
Ubi nox nulla tetra .
Ubi regnum regnorum saeculorum in saecula . Amen .

 

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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.

 

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You Are the King of kings, and Lord of Lords

God, my almighty God, I humbly worship you.
You are the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
You are the judge of every age.
You are the Redeemer of our souls.
You are the Liberator of those who believe.
You are the Hope of those who labor.
You are the Comforter of the sad.
You are the Way for the straying.
You are the Teacher of the nations.
You are the Creator of all creatures.
You are the Lover of all that is good.
You are the Prince of all virtue.
You are the Joy of your saints.
You are Life everlasting.
You are Joy in truth.
You are the joy of our eternal homeland.
You are Light from light.
You are the Fount of holiness.
You are the glory of God the Father in the highest.
You are the Savior of the world.
You are the Fullness of the Holy Spirit.
You are seated at the right hand of the Father, ruling on your throne forever.

Source: From a confession of sins in The Book of Cerne, 9th Century.

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

Deus deus meus omnipotens
Ego humiliter te adoro
Tu es rex regum et dominus dominantium
Tu es arbiter omnis saeculi
Tu es redemtor animarum
Tu es liberator credentium
Tu es spes laborantium
Tu es paracletus doleutium
Tu es uia errantium
Tu es magister gentium
Tu es creator omnium creaturarum
Tu es amator omnis boni
Tu es princeps omnium uirtutum
Tu es gaudium sanctorum tuorum
Tu es uita perpetua
Tu es laetitia in ueritate
Tu es exultatio in aeterna patria
Tu es lux lucis
Tu es fons sanctitatis
Tu es gloria dei patris in excelso
Tu es saluator mundi
Tu es plenitude spiritus sancti
Tu sedis  ad dexteram dei patris in throno regnas in saecula

Source: The prayer book of Aedeluald the bishop, commonly called the Book of Cerne, p. 95-96.

 

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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.

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

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.

 

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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.

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

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

 

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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.

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

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 –

 

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