This Day in History: 03/17/461 - Saint Patrick Dies

On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland. Much of what is known about Patrick's legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family. According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled "The Voice of the Irish." As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church. Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover--the famous shamrock--to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland. For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick's death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon.

Saint Patrick’s Day

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish and Irish-American holiday commemorating the death, as legend has it, of Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, on March 17, circa 492. It is also the occasion, in many American cities, for celebrating Irish heritage with a parade. Among the most renowned of these festival traditions are the New York City parade, which officially dates to March 17, 1766 (an unofficial march was held in 1762) the Boston parade, which may date as far back as March 17, 1775 and the Savannah, Georgia parade, which dates to March 17, 1824.

Oh! Erin, must we leave you?…Must we ask a mother’s welcome from a strange, but happier land? Where the cruel Cross of England’s thralldom never shall be seen And where, thank God, we’ll live and die still wearin’ the green.

“Wearing of the Green.” In “Colonel J. W. O’Brien.” Wilbur Cummings, interviewer Wood River, Nebraska, Nov. 11, 1938. American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940. Manuscript Division

When St. Patrick’s Cathedral was completed in New York City in 1879, the parade was extended up Fifth Avenue in order to allow the archbishop and clergy to review the festivities while standing in front of the church.

The Irish presence in America increased dramatically in the 1840s as a consequence of Ireland’s potato famine of 1845-49, which left more than a million people dead from starvation and disease. Most of the Irish who immigrated to the U.S. during this period arrived with little education and few material possessions. They encountered systematic economic discrimination, and the longstanding prejudice of many members of the Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority toward both the Irish and Catholicism.

Harrison’s Landing, Va. Group of the Irish Brigade. Alexander Gardner, photographer, July 1862. Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Prints & Photographs Division

The Civil War provided an occasion for recent Irish immigrants to prove their mettle as U.S. citizens. During the fall and winter of 1861-62, Thomas Meagher, an Irish Revolutionary who had immigrated to New York City after escaping from a British prison in 1852, organized the Irish Brigade.

“More than the abstract principles of saving the Union,” historian Phillip Thomas Tucker writes in his introduction to The History of the Irish Brigade: A Collection of Historical Essays, “these Celtic soldiers were fighting most of all for their own future and an America which did not segregate, persecute, and discriminate against the Irish people and their Catholicism, Irish culture, and distinctive Celtic heritage like the hated English in the old country” (p. 3). The brigade, composed primarily of Irish and Irish-American soldiers, most of whom were recent immigrants to the Northeast, earned a reputation for bravery and sacrifice in some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, including the First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Antietam, the first Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

The Irish Regiment. By H. Maylath New York: E. H. Harding, 1877. Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885. Music Division

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885 consists of tens of thousands of pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the post-Civil War era. Included are popular songs, piano music, sacred music and secular choral music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and music for band and orchestra.

The Irish in America

Up until the mid-19th century, most Irish immigrants in America were members of the Protestant middle class. When the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland in 1845, close to 1 million poor and uneducated Irish Catholics began pouring into America to escape starvation.

Anti-Irish political cartoon titled “The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things” by Thomas Nast (1840–1902), published in Harper’s Weekly on 2 September 1871.

Despised for their alien religious beliefs and unfamiliar accents by the American Protestant majority, the immigrants had trouble finding even menial jobs. When Irish Americans in the country’s cities took to the streets on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate their heritage, newspapers portrayed them in cartoons as drunk, violent monkeys.

The American Irish soon began to realize, however, that their large and growing numbers endowed them with a political power that had yet to be exploited. They started to organize, and their voting block, known as the “green machine,” became an important swing vote for political hopefuls. Suddenly, annual St. Patrick’s Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans, as well as a must-attend event for a slew of political candidates.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman attended New York City ‘s St. Patrick’s Day parade, a proud moment for the many Irish Americans whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and racial prejudice to find acceptance in the New World.

Saint Patrick dies: The history of Saint Patrick’s Day

On March 17, 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.

According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.

Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover–the famous shamrock–to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland. For centuries, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick’s death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade, though, took place not in Ireland, but the United States. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony under the direction of the colony’s Irish vicar, Ricardo Artur. More than a century later, homesick Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched in Boston in 1737 and in New York City on March 1762. As the years went on, the parades became a show of unity and strength for persecuted Irish-American immigrants, and then a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage. The party went global in 1995, when the Irish government began a large-scale campaign to market St. Patrick’s Day as a way of driving tourism and showcasing Ireland’s many charms to the rest of the world. These days, March 17 is a day of international celebration, as millions of people around the globe put on their best green clothing to drink beer, watch parades and toast the luck of the Irish.

Every March 17, the United States becomes an emerald country for a day. Americans wear green clothes and quaff green beer. Green milkshakes, bagels and grits appear on menus. In a leprechaun-worthy shenanigan, Chicago even dyes its river green.

Revelers from coast to coast celebrate all things Irish by hoisting pints of Guinness and cheering bagpipers, step dancers and marching bands parading through city streets. These familiar annual traditions weren’t imported from Ireland, however. They were made in America.

Boston has long staked claim to the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the American colonies. On March 17, 1737, more than two dozen Presbyterians who emigrated from the north of Ireland gathered to honor St. Patrick and form the Charitable Irish Society to assist distressed Irishmen in the city. The oldest Irish organization in North America still holds an annual dinner every St. Patrick’s Day.

While St. Patrick’s Day evolved in the 20th century into a party day for Americans of all ethnicities, the celebration in Ireland remained solemn. The Connaught Telegraph reported of Ireland’s commemorations on March 17, 1952: “St. Patrick’s Day was very much like any other day, only duller.” For decades, Irish laws prohibited pubs from opening on holy days such as March 17. Until 1961, the only legal place to get a drink in the Irish capital on St. Patrick’s Day was the Royal Dublin Dog Show, which naturally attracted those with only a passing canine interest.

The party atmosphere only spread to Ireland after the arrival of television when the Irish could see all the fun being had across the ocean. “Modern Ireland took a cue from America,” McCormack says. The multi-day St. Patrick’s Day Festival, launched in Dublin in 1996, now attracts one million people each year.

The Irish are now adopting St. Patrick’s Day traditions from Irish America such as corned beef and cabbage, McCormack says. There are some American traditions, however, that might not catch on in Ireland, such as green Guinness. As McCormack says, “St. Patrick never drank green beer.”

The Dark History Of Eating Green On St. Patrick's Day

Green cupcakes may mean party time in America, but in Ireland, emerald-tinged edibles harken back to a desperate past.

Green food may mean party time in America, where St. Patrick's Day has long been an excuse to break out the food dye. But historian Christine Kinealy says there's a bitter history to eating green that harks back to Ireland's darkest chapter.

During the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s, mass starvation forced many Irish to flee their homeland in search of better times in America and elsewhere. Kinealy says those who stayed behind turned to desperate measures.

"People were so deprived of food that they resorted to eating grass," Kinealy tells The Salt. "In Irish folk memory, they talk about people's mouths being green as they died."

At least 1 million Irish died in the span of six years, says Kinealy, the founding director of Ireland's Great Hunger Institute at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Which is why for Kinealy, an Irishwoman who hails from Dublin and County Mayo, the sight of green-tinged edibles intended as a joyous nod to Irish history can be jolting, she says.

"Before I came to America, I'd never seen a green bagel," she says. "For Irish-Americans, they think of dyeing food green, they think everything is happy. But really, in terms of the famine, this is very sad imagery."

That's not to say that the sight of green-dyed food is offensive to the Irish.

After all, the color green is closely linked with Ireland, known as the Emerald Isle because of its strikingly verdant countryside. In the 19th century, Irish nationalists and republicans adopted the color — as Ireland's The Journal points out, this was likely to distinguish themselves from the reds and blues that were then associated with England, Scotland and Wales.

And Americans have long embraced St. Patrick's Day traditions that might bemuse the folks back in Ireland, where festivities in honor of the nation's patron saint are a lot more subdued, Kinealy notes.

For instance, St. Paddy's Day Parades? Those originated here in the late 1700s. (George Washington was known to give his Irish soldiers the day off so they could join the celebrations, she says.)

And that quintessential dish of the holiday, corned beef — it may be delicious, but it's most definitely not Irish.

As noted, in Gaelic Ireland, cows were a symbol of wealth and a sacred animal, kept more for their milk than their meat — which was only consumed once an animal's milking days were over. In the Irish diet, meat meant pork. It wasn't until Britain conquered most of Ireland that Irish "corned beef" came into existence — to satisfy the beef-loving English.

"Ironically, the ones producing the corned beef, the Irish people, could not afford beef or corned beef for themselves," Smithsonian notes.

Funny enough, the Irish didn't learn to love corned beef until coming to America, where they picked up the taste from their Jewish neighbors in the urban melting pot of New York City.

But these days, even the Irish back in the homeland have made accommodations for this Irish-American dietary quirk, Kinealy says. As tourist season revs up and Americans visitors come to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, she says "a lot of pubs in Ireland will offer corned beef because they know the tourists like it. It's come full circle."

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ] Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was never formally canonised, [2] having lived prior to the current laws of the Catholic Church in these matters. Nevertheless, he is venerated as a Saint in the Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is regarded as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland. He is also regarded as a Saint within the framework of their respective doctrine by the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Churches. [3]

The dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty, but there is general agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the fifth century. A recent biography [4] on Patrick shows a late fourth-century date for the saint is not impossible. [5] Early medieval tradition credits him with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, and regards him as the founder of Christianity in Ireland, converting a society practising a form of Celtic polytheism. He has been generally so regarded ever since, despite evidence of some earlier Christian presence in Ireland.

According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, when he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. In later life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick's Day is observed on 17 March, the supposed date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation it is also a celebration of Ireland itself.

How did Saint Patrick die?

The Irish patron saint's death would go on to become Ireland's national holiday.

But how did the man who brought Christianity to a hitherto uncivilized Ireland meet his death?

The circumstances of Saint Patrick's death are understandably a little muddy.

Some contend that he died as late as 493 AD when he was more than 100 years old. Most, however, accept that he died in 461 at an extremely healthy age of 76.

It's generally accepted that Saint Patrick died - and was buried - in Downpatrick near Belfast.

Some scholars believe that Patrick, who had returned to Britain after converting thousands of Irish people to Catholocism, sensed his coming demise and wished to travel back to Ireland before his death.

He wished to return to Saul, close to present-day Downpatrick, where he reportedly performed one of his first conversions.

While he sailed to Ireland, an angel is said to have appeared to him in a vision and told him also to return to Saul.

He died shortly after arriving at the northern town.

News of Saint Patrick's death spread like wildfire throughout 5th-Century Ireland and chieftains and priests from all corners of the island flocked to Saul to pay their last respects to their fallen idol.

That night, the town of Saul was alight with dozens of torches lit in homage to Saint Patrick, while psalms filled the night air.

His death would become a holy day and, much later, it would become Ireland's national holiday.

Ireland observed Mar. 17 as a religious holiday for centuries, but it wasn't until much later that it became the festival we're used to today.

In fact, it didn't even originate in Ireland.

The modern St, Patrick's Day festival can trace its origins back to New York in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British military marched through the city to commemorate the holy day, giving rise to one of the most famous parades in the world.

The Real History of St Patrick’s Day

When you think of St Patrick’s Day, you probably think of green beer, shot glass necklaces that say “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, and everybody talking about how Irish they suddenly are. That’s all well and good, but I bet you don’t know much about the holiday’s origins, or the saint it celebrates. Well, now that you’ve taken off that stupid hat and stopped talking like a leprechaun for a second, it’s time to educate yourself a smidge.

St Patrick, considered the patron saint of Ireland, was actually born in Banna Venta Berniae, a town in Roman Britain, some time in the late 300s AD. That’s right, Patrick wasn’t Irish. And his name wasn’t Patrick either — it was Maewyn Succat, but he didn’t care for that so he chose to be known as Patricius down the line. He actually had many monikers throughout his life: He was known by many as Magonus, by others as Succetus, and to some as Cothirthiacus. But we’ll just call him Patrick since everybody else does. Has a nice ring to it…

His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon in the early Christian church, but Patrick wasn’t much of a believer himself. It wasn’t until he was captured by Irish pirates at the age of 16 and enslaved for six years as a shepherd that he chose to convert to Christianity. While in northeastern Ireland, Patrick learned the Irish language and culture before attempting to escape back to Britain. But Patrick wasn’t very good at escaping apparently, because he was captured again. This time by the French. He was held in France where he learned all about monasticism before he was released and sent home to Britain where he continued to study Christianity well into his 20s. Eventually, Patrick claimed he had a vision that told him to bring Christianity to the Irish people, who were predominantly pagan and druidic at the time, so Patrick made his way back to Ireland and brought a big ol’ bag of Christianity with him.

4 Things You Can Do With Guinness Besides Drink It

Beer is made for drinking, and I would never suggest you don't drink beer, but there's no reason you can't have a Guinness and cook with it too. Below you will find several delicious dishes designed to get the iconic stout into your stomach, all of which should be made with a cold one in hand.

When Patrick arrived back in Ireland, however, he and his preaching ways were not welcomed, so he had to leave and land on some small islands off the coast. There he began to gain followers, and he eventually moved to the mainland to spread Christian ideologies across Ireland for many years to come. During this time, Patrick baptised thousands of people (some say 100,000), ordained new priests, guided women to nunhood, converted the sons of kings in the region, and aided in the formation of over 300 churches.

Folklore also tells of Patrick banishing all the snakes from Ireland, but as badarse as that may sound, there were never actually any snakes on the island to begin with.

But Patrick may be the one responsible for popularising the shamrock, or that three-leafed plant you see plastered all over the place. According to legend, Patrick used it to teach the Irish the concept of the Christian Holy Trinity. They already had triple deities and regarded the number three highly, so Patrick’s use of the shamrock may have helped him win a great deal of favour with the Irish.

These days, Patricius is known to most as Saint Patrick. Though he’s not technically a canonised saint by the Catholic Church, he’s well-regarded throughout the Christian world. But why the holiday? Why always March 17? What’s with the green? And why do we think of a non-Irish, non-snake charmer as a symbol of Ireland?

St Paddy’s Day started as a religious celebration in the 17th century to commemorate the life of Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. This “Feast Day” always took place on the anniversary of Patrick’s death, which was believed to be March 17, 461 AD. In the early 18th century, Irish immigrants brought the tradition over to the American colonies, and it was there that Saint Patrick started to become the symbol of Irish heritage and culture that he is today. As more Irish came across the Atlantic, the Feast Day celebration slowly grew in popularity. So much so, in fact, the first-ever St Patrick’s Day parade was held in Boston in 1737.

By the mid 19th century, the United States saw a massive influx of Irish immigrants hoping to escape the Great Famine. This transformed the relatively small-scale Feast Day observance into a full-blown celebration that people wanted to be a part of whether they were Irish or not. In 1903, Feast Day became a national holiday in Ireland, and over time it transformed into what is now called St Patrick’s Day. The holiday has since been celebrated all over the world in countries like the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia and even throughout Asia. As it happens, St Paddy’s Day is so popular, it’s thought to be celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. What was once a fairly chill day of going to mass, watching a parade, and eating a hearty meal with family has transformed into the biggest party in the world.

If you’re wondering why you wear green on this date, there’s more to it than protection from pinching fingers. It goes back to the Irish Rebellion, when Irish soldiers wore green as they fought off the British in their trademark red. Until then, the colour associated with St Patrick and Feast Day was actually blue. The song soldiers sang during the war in 1798, “The Wearing of the Green“, changed all of that and made green, the colour of shamrocks, Ireland’s mainstay colour. From then on, people wore green on St Patrick’s Day in solidarity. And when Chicago dyed their river green for the first time in 1962, the practice of wearing and decorating in green became a part of pop culture. It’s now commonplace to bust out your best greens mid-March.

Three Green Cocktails To Make This St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's day is next weekend, and with it comes an onslaught of unnecessarily green consumables. I've honestly never been a fan of aggressively-dyed beer, not because I'm afraid of food colouring, but because the beer used is usually crap. If you want to celebrate St. Patrick's day with an on-theme adult beverage that isn't an emerald-hued beer, consider making (or ordering) one (or all) of the following.

OK, so why all the drinking then? It’s part historical subtext, part us succumbing to advertising, and part stereotyping. Originally, St Patrick’s Day, or Feast Day, saw the lifting of Lent restrictions for the day, giving Christians a breather as they made their way to Easter. Basically, it was a day to eat and drink as much as you please in celebration, hence the traditional Irish meal of bacon and cabbage. But imbibing on whiskey and beer was not part of the equation. In fact, pubs in Ireland were forced by law to shut down for the holiday until later in the 20th century, and drinking alcohol on St Patrick’s Day was greatly frowned upon until the late 1970s.

Then, a huge marketing push from Budweiser in the 80s convinced thirsty revellers that drinking beer and St Patrick’s Day were one and the same. The rest is drunk history nobody seems to remember, as it’s all been replaced in our heads with quotes from Boondock Saints. Many people now use the holiday as an excuse to binge drink, which fosters negative stereotypes by incorrectly associating the act of getting wasted with Irish culture. But, at least now you can take a swig of your Guinness in pride because you know the real story. Sláinte!


The prayer is part of the Liber Hymnorum, an 11th-century collection of hymns found in two manuscripts kept in Dublin. [2] It is also present, in a more fragmentary state, in the 9th-century Vita tripartita Sancti Patricii. It was edited in 1888 (Vita Tripartita), in 1898 (Liber Hymnorum), and again published in 1903 in the Thesaurus Paleohibernicus.

The Liber Hymnorum gives this account of how Saint Patrick used this prayer:

Saint Patrick sang this when an ambush was laid against his coming by Loegaire, that he might not go to Tara to sow the faith. And then it appeared before those lying in ambush that they (Saint Patrick and his monks) were wild deer with a fawn following them. [3]

The description concludes "fáeth fiada a hainm", which was interpreted as "Deer's Cry" by the medieval editor of the Liber Hymnorum (hence the connection to the deer metamorphosis), [4] but the Old Irish fáeth fiada properly refers to a "mist of concealment". [5]

The prayer as recorded is dated on linguistic grounds to the early 8th century. [6] John Colgan (1647) attributed the prayer to Saint Evin, the author of the 9th-century Vita Tripartita. It was also Colgan who reported the title of Lorica Patricii. [7]

Christian in content, it shows pre-Christian influence. [8] Because of this it is also known as the "Lorica of St. Patrick" or as "St. Patrick's Breastplate".

The term Lorica is used of a number of Old Irish prayers, including one attributed to Dallán Forgaill and another to Saint Fursey. They all arose in the context of early Irish monasticism, in the 6th to 8th centuries. It isn't clear when the Latin title of Lorica was first applied to them, but the term is used in the 17th century by John Colgan. The allusion is probably to Ephesians 6:14, where the Apostle bids his readers stand, "having put on the breast-plate of righteousness". [9]

Summary Edit

The first five sections of the prayer or hymn begin atomruig indiu "I bind unto myself today", [10] followed by a list of sources of strength that the prayer calls on for support.

The text is conventionally divided into eleven sections:

  1. invocation of the Trinity.
  2. invocation of Christ's baptism, death, resurrection, ascension and future return on the last day.
  3. invocation of the virtues of angels, patriarchs, saints and martyrs.
  4. invocation of the virtues of the natural world: the sun, fire, lightning, wind, etc.
  5. invocation of various aspects of God – his wisdom, his eye, his ear, his hand, etc.
  6. lists of the things against which protection is required, including false prophets, heathens, heretics, witches and wizards (druids)
  7. brief invocation of Christ for protection
  8. repeated invocation of Christ to be ever present (Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, etc.)
  9. continuation of the theme of Christ within every man
  10. repetition of the first verse
  11. short stanza in Latin (invoking Psalm 3:8, "Salvation is the Lord's")

Text Edit

The text as edited by Stokes (1888) is here shown alongside the literal translation due to Todd (1864): [11]

niurt trén, togairm Trínóite.
Cretim treodataid fóisitin óendatad
inDúlemain dail.

The strong power of the invocation of the Trinity:
The faith of the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the elements.

niurt gene Crist conabath]is [12]
neurt a croctha conaadnacul.
neurt aeiseirgi conafreasgabail.
neurt athoiniuda fri brithemnus mbratha.

The power of the Incarnation of Christ, with that of his Baptism,
The power of the Crucifixion with that of his Burial,
The power of the Resurrection, with the Ascension,
The power of the coming of the Sentence of Judgement.

neurt graid hiruphín
inerlattaid aingiul.
ifrestal nanarchaingiul.
ifrescisin esérgi arcend focraici.
inernaigthi uasalthrach.
itaircetlaib fáthi.
ipreceptaib apstal.
inirisib faísmedach.
inendccai nóebingen.
ingnimaib fer fírioin.

The power of the love of Seraphim,
In the obedience of Angels,
(In the service of Archangels,)
In the hope of Resurrection unto reward,
In the prayers of the noble Fathers,
In the predictions of the Prophets,
In the preaching of Apostles,
In the faith of Confessors,
In purity of Holy Virgins,
In the acts of Righteous Men.

neurt nime.
soillsi gréine.
etrochta ésci.
[áne thened.
déne lóchet.]
luathi gaithi.
fudomna mara.
tairismigi talman.
cobsaidi alech.

The power of Heaven,
The light of the Sun,
(The whiteness of Snow,) [13]
The force of Fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The velocity of Wind,
The depth of the Sea,
The stability of the Earth,
The hardness of Rocks.

neurt Dé dom lúamairecht.
cumachta nDé dom congbáil.
cíall nDé domimthús.
rosc nDé dom imcaisin.
clúas nDé doméistecht.
briathar nDé domerlabrai.
lám nDé domimdegail.
intech nDé domremthechtus.
sciath Dé domimdíten.
sochraiti Dé domanacul.
ar indledaib demna,
ar aslagib dualach,
ar foirmdechaib acnid,
ar cech nduine midúthracair dam
icéin, anoccus
inuathiud. isochaidi.

The Power of God to guide me,
The Might of God to uphold me,
The Wisdom of God to teach me,
The Eye of God to watch over me,
The Ear of God to hear me,
The Word of God to give me speech,
The Hand of God to protect me,
The Way of God to prevent me,
The Shield of God to shelter me,
The Host of God to defend me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the temptations of vices,
Against the (lusts) of nature, [14]
Against every man who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
With few or with many.

fri cech neurt namnus nétrocar
fristái dom churp ocus domanmain.
fri taircetlaib saebfáthe.
[fri dubrechtu gentliuchta]
fri saebrechtaib [heretecda.
fri himcellacht nidlachta.
fri brichta] ban ocus goband ocus druád.
fri cech fis aracuiliu corp ocus anmain duni.

Against every hostile savage power
Directed against my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths and druids,
Against all knowledge that binds the soul of man.

ar cech neim ar loscud,
ar bádudh, ar guin
conimraib ilar fochraici

Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Crist imm degaid. Crist innum.
Crist ísum. Crist úasam.
Crist dessum. Crist tuathum.
Crist illius. Crist ipsius [sic],
Crist inerus.

Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
(Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot-seat,
Christ in the mighty stern.) [15]

Crist angin cech duine rodomlabradar.
Crist iruscc cech duine rodomdecadar.
Crist iclúais cech duine rodomcluinedar.

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me,
Christ in the eye of every man that sees me,
Christ in the ear of every man that hears me.

niurt trén, togairm Trínóite.
Cretim treodataid fóisitin óendatad
in Dúlemain dail.]

The strong power of an invocation of the Trinity,
The faith of the Trinity in Unity
The Creator of the Elements.

Domini est salus,
Christi est salus,
[Salus] tua Domine sit semper nobiscum.

Salvation is the Lord's
Salvation is Christ's
May thy salvation, Lord, be always with us!

John Colgan published a Latin translation in his Acta Triadis Thaumaturgae (1647).

In the early 19th century, Irish scholars George Petrie [16] and John O'Donovan misanalyzed the first word atomruig as containing Temur, for Temoria or Tara. This is followed by James Clarence Mangan (1803–1849), whose translation begins "At Tarah to-day, in this awful hour, I call on the Holy Trinity!". The literal translation by Todd (1864) recognized this error and gives the translation "I bind to myself to-day".

In 1889, the prayer was adapted into the hymn I Bind Unto Myself Today by C. F. Alexander. A number of other adaptations have been made.

Several different modern English versions of the prayer can be found. For example, some render the beginning atomruig indiu of each major section more freely as "I clasp unto my heart today" rather than the literal "I bind/join to myself today." Various other trivial variants are found, such as the verse "Against spells of women, and smiths, and druids" as "Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards".

There is another class of free or poetic translations which deviate from the original meaning, e.g. replacing the verse "Christ in the fort, Christ in the chariot seat, and Christ in the poop [deck]" with "Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise." [17]

Catholic prayer cards which have popularized this prayer feature a truncated version in the interest of space. [18]

Victorian hymn Edit

C. F. Alexander (1818–1895) wrote a hymn based on St. Patrick's Breastplate in 1889 at the request of H. H. Dickinson, Dean of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle. Dean Dickinson wrote about this:

I wrote to her suggesting that she should fill a gap in our Irish Church Hymnal by giving us a metrical version of St. Patrick's 'Lorica' and I sent her a carefully collated copy of the best prose translations of it. Within a week she sent me that version which appears in the appendix to our Church Hymnal." [19]

As usual, Alexander wrote the poems only. The music to the hymn was originally set in 1902 by Charles Villiers Stanford for chorus and organ, using two traditional Irish tunes, St. Patrick and Gartan, which Stanford took from his own edition (1895) of George Petrie's Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (originally 1855). [20] [21] This is known by its opening line "I bind unto myself today". It is currently included in the Lutheran Service Book (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod), the English Hymnal, the Irish Church Hymnal and The Hymnal (1982) of the US Episcopal Church. It is often sung during the celebration of the Feast of Saint Patrick on or near 17 March as well as on Trinity Sunday. In many churches it is unique among standard hymns because the variations in length and metre of verses mean that at least three melodic forms are required (one tune which is sung at half-length and in full for depending on the verse length, and one entirely different tune).

Musical adaptations Edit

  • St. Patrick's Breastplate (tune - Tara) in the Irish Church Hymnal (1890) by Irish composer Thomas Richard Gonsalvez Jozé (1853–1924).
  • St. Patrick's Breastplate (tune - St. Patrick, and for verse eight - Gartan) (1902), by Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) – see above. This is the best known arrangement of this hymn.
  • St. Patrick's Breastplate (1912), an arrangement by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924) of his own music to C.F. Alexander's hymn, here for mixed choir, organ, brass, side drum and cymbals.
  • St. Patrick's Breastplate (1924), a work for mixed choir and piano by the English composer Arnold Bax (1883–1953).
  • Hymn of St. Patrick at Tara (1930), a work for bass soloist, mixed choir and organ by Irish composer Dermot Macmurrough (a.k.a. Harold R. White, 1872–1943) to a poetic interpretation by Olive Meyler.
  • St. Patrick's Hymn (1965) by US folk-guitarist John Fahey (1939–2001) on the album "The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death".
  • Christ Be Beside Me (also Christ Beside Me) and This Day God Gives Me, adaptations by James J. Quinn to the tune of Bunessan, published in his 1969 book New Hymns for All Seasons
  • The Deer's Cry (1983) by Irish composer Shaun Davey (born 1948) is based on a translation by Kuno Meyer. [22][23]
  • Arise Today (1995) for choir and organ by US composer Libby Larsen (born 1950).
  • The Deer's Cry (2008), a choral work by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (born 1935). [24]
  • In his 2016 album, "Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations", [25] Rick Lee James opens the album with a modern setting of St. Patrick's Breastplate titled Christ Is Lord (Christ Before Me). [26]
  • "The Lorica" is an adaptation of St. Patrick's Breastplate on Canadian singer-songwriter Steve Bell's 2008 Album, Devotion. [27]

In his seminal study 'The Primal Vision: Christian presence Amid African Religion', (SCM Press, London 1963) John Vernon Taylor, later Bishop of Winchester, claimed that St Patrick's Breastplate 'contains all the spiritual awareness of the primal vision and lifts it into the fullness of Christ.' He concludes by quoting the whole prayer in Kuno Meyer's version, exclaiming 'Would that it were translated and sung in every tongue in Africa!'

Since the 1980s, a resurgent interest in "Celtic spirituality" among some Christian authors led to the popularisation of the Lorica as an example of specifically "Celtic". For example, David Adam has written some books about Celtic prayers and spiritual exercises for modern Christians. In one of his books, The Cry Of The Deer, [28] he used the Lorica of St Patrick as a way to Celtic spirituality.

John Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, provides a verse-by-verse commentary on the Breastplate in 'A Song for Every Morning: Dedication and Defiance with St Patrick's Breastplate' (Norwich, Canterbury Press 2008), based largely on experience of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. A foreword by Kathy Galloway, Leader of the Iona Community, notes how the Breastplate brings together the personal and the political in Christian discipleship.

The History of St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in America in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was largely to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists had been separated from.

Early celebrations continued this modest tradition. In New York, the first celebration took place as a small gathering at the home of an Irish protestant. St. Patrick’s Day parades started in New York in 1762 by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade, as they often feature marching military unites. The holiday eventually evolved from the modest religious dinner into the raucous holiday we know today.

Worldwide St. Patrick’s Day Parades and Celebrations

Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but the events will vary based on the city:

Watch the video: Almanac St. Patrick (January 2022).