Posts Tagged 'hymns'

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

St. Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland, Bishop of Armagh

St. Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland, Bishop of Armagh

Here is a fitting hymn for St. Patrick’s Day, his “breastplate” prayer to the Most Holy Trinity. (For those wondering, a “breastplate” prayer combines a confession of faith in God, a cry to Him for help, invocation of the Most Blessed Trinity, and the sign of the Holy Cross.)

Saint Patrick lived from 372-466 A.D., and was the Apostle and evangelizer of Ireland. Although he was preceded by St. Palladius, it was St. Patrick’s mission which spread out over the whole island and is responsible for the mass conversion of the Irish people to Orthodox Christianity.

This prayer which he composed is a reflection of the faith he brought to Ireland–a faith utterly reliant on God, having nothing to do either with the darkness of this fallen world or the enjoyment of a comfortable life of complacency. Note that St. Patrick’s use of the word “bind” is highly active, bringing to mind the putting on of armor, and that this binding has an object, that is, warfare against the evil of demons, human enemies, and, foremost, the evil lurking in one’s own soul. Here it is, quoted from the Saint Ambrose Hymnal, translated by C.F. Alexander (1818-1895):

1. I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

2. I bind this day to me forever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan River, His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;

His coming at the Day of Doom; I bind unto myself today.

3. I bind unto myself the power of the great love of Cherubim;

the sweet “well done” in judgement hour, the service of the Seraphim,

Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word, the Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prohpets’ scrolls,

all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.

4. I bind unto myself today the virtues of the star-lit heaven,

the glorious sun’s live-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

5. I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need.

The Wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward;

the Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.

6.  Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force,

the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course;

or few or many, far or nigh, in every place, and in all hours,

against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.

7. Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, against false words of heresy,

against the knowledge that defiles, against the heart’s idolatry,

against the wizard’s evil craft, against the death-wound and the burning,

the choking wave, the poisoned shaft, protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

8. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

9. I bind unto myself the Name, the strong name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

Of Whom all nature hath creation; Etneral Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.


Sitka Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos

Sitka Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos

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