St Patrick’s Breastplate with its familiar words ‘Christ behind me, Christ before me’ has been an expression of Christian faith for many years but what is the complete prayer, where did it come from and did St Patrick even write it? Here Alf McCreary examines the history of the prayer and how in Victorian times, Mrs Alexander the hymn-writer came to write the definitive version.
St Patrick’s Breastplate is beautifully illustrated with Celtic script, attractive drawings and the complete words of the prayer. The Celts believed that God was all around them and the prayer was written as a lorica (a piece of ancient armour) asking for God’s protection in a harsh landscape. The very closeness of the prayer to the old Celtic beliefs shows how Patrick identified with the people he served. A beautiful Celtic gift.
80 Pages Hardback 2006