What is the origin of Angel of God prayer?

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What is the origin of Angel of God prayer?

Some have attributed it to St. Anselm, but that remains dubious.

Angele Dei, also know as the Prayer to One's Guardian Angel, was in the past attributed to St. Anselm (c1033-1109), for it appears in medieval collections of St. Anselm's works. However, it is clear that this prayer was added to Anselm's works sometime after his death. As best can be determined, this prayer is an interpolation of Reginald of Canterbury's (d. c 1109) Life of St. Malchus. St. Malchus (d. c 390) was a famous hermit who was a friend of St. Jerome (c 341-420). The popular English translation given below is from the later half of the 19th century and appears in the Baltimore Manual of Prayers (1888). - Angele Dei, Angel of God

Many scholars think that it may have been written by Reginald of Canterbury.

For many years it was believed that St. Anselm of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk who lived during the 11th century, was the author of the prayer. However, recent scholars have discovered that the prayer was likely inspired by Reginald of Canterbury, another Benedictine monk who lived at the same time as St. Anselm. Scholars found a prayer in Reginald’s Life of St. Malchus that bears a strong resemblance to the current Angel of God prayer.

In Latin, Reginald’s prayer begins as follows.

Angele, qui meus es custos pietate superna, me tibi commissum serva, tueare, guberna; terge meam mentem vitiis et labe veterna assiduusque comes mihi sis vitaque lucerna.

The Angel of God prayer starts in a similar way in Latin.

Angele Dei, qui custos es mei, Me tibi commissum pietate superna; (Hodie, Hac nocte) illumina, custodi, rege, et guberna.

It is uncertain if Reginald composed the Angel of God prayer, but it is clear that whoever did had access to Reginald’s Life of St. Malchus.

What this means is that this prayer has a rich history, dating back almost a thousand years. The Church has preserved it over all these years because of its simple yet profound truth. It recognizes the existence of our guardian angels, and invokes their aid in our time of need. - Who composed the “Angel of God” Prayer?


The Angele Dei prayer is at least as old as Pope Pius VI (1717-1799), who, "in order to kindle the fervour of the faithful to have frequent recourse to their holy Angel Guardian, granted, motu proprio, by a Brief of October 2, 1795", an indulgence.

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