About Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

It’s an ancient prayer, a poem attributed to Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland (4th-5th century). There are several translations of this poem. The major difference between them: some begin “I arise today” while others begin “I bind unto myself this day.”

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is also calledĀ The Deer’s Cry. The legend is that Saint Patrick said this prayer when he and his company passed the High King of Tara, Loeguire. The king and his men were planning to kill the saint to stop the spread of the Christian faith. As the saint and his company passed, his enemies saw only a herd of deer. The saint and company passed by safely.

This prayer is also called theĀ Lorica, which is a piece of armor that protects the chest – a breastplate. This is a reference to Ephesians 6:10-18, putting on the full armor of God – for protection from enemies and evil, not for attacking others.

May the imagery of this prayer deepen your Lenten journey, enrich your faith, and bring you closer to God and neighbor.

Resources for Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

A Taste of Ireland’s Poets, rc.net

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, ourcatholicprayers.com


“I Bind Unto Myself Today” (saint Patrick’s Breastplate) @St. John’s, Detroit, youtube.com