In the Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is a prayer recited for protection. The Latin word lorica originally meant "armor" or "breastplate." Both meanings come together in the practice of placing verbal inscriptions on the shields or armorial trappings of knights, who might recite them before going into battle.
The idea underlying the name is probably derived from Ephesians 6:14, where the Apostle bids his readers stand, "having put on the breast-plate of righteousness,".
Notable loricas include Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride, which in its English translation provides the text for the hymn Be Thou My Vision, the Lorica of Laidcenn and the Lorica of Saint Patrick, which begins
- I arise today
- Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
- Through a belief in the Threeness,
- Through confession of the Oneness
- Of the Creator of creation.
Lorica of St Patrick
Linguists cannot trace this lorica back further than the eighth century, which raises the question of whether it was based on an earlier poem dating back to the time of St. Patrick (5th century), or whether actually completely unknown to the saint to whom it has been ascribed.
- "Gildae Lorica", Early Church Fathers, pp.289-293, (1899)
- St Patrick, a Visual Celebration, Davis, Courtney, Blandford, 1999, p. 31, “St Patrick’s Breastplate”, Gill, Elaine
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