Dominus illuminatio mea

Dominus illuminatio mea (Latin for 'The Lord is my light') is the incipit (opening words) of Psalm 27 and is used by the University of Oxford as its motto. It has been in use there since at least the second half of the sixteenth century, and it appears in the coat of arms of the university.

At the University of Oxford's Faculty of History, the motto can be seen at left

An article written in 2000 by the Roman Catholic priest and theologian Ivan Illich (1926–2002) may help to explain this ancient university motto, at a time when scientists were progressively replacing the concept of vision as a gaze radiating from the pupil by the concept of vision as the retinal perception of an image formed by reflected sunlight:

"To interpret De oculo morali, the relationship of things to God "who is light" must be understood. This is the century [i.e., the thirteenth century] suffused by the idea that the world rests in God's hands, that it is contingent on Him. This means that at every instant everything derives its existence from his continued creative act. Things radiate by virtue of their constant dependence on this creative act. They are alight by the God-derived luminescence of their truth."[1]

Other usesEdit

Dominus illuminatio mea is also the motto of Loyola High School (Kolkata) in India, founded in 1961.[2]

It is one of the two mottos of Robert College in Istanbul, and it has appeared in the arms of the Robert College Alumni Association since 1957, next to Veritas.[citation needed]

It is also the motto of Finlandia University, founded as Suomi College in 1896.[citation needed]

Additionally, it is the motto of Cair Paravel-Latin School, a private college-preparatory school in Topeka, Kansas,[citation needed] and Nazareth Academy in Rochester, New York. It is also used by St Leo's College, University of Queensland, and by Drew University in Madison, NJ.[citation needed]

It is found in the coat of arms of Montessori Professional College in Quezon City.

Furthermore, it is the motto of Hallfield Independent School in Birmingham, UK, and Marymount Secondary School in Hong Kong, as well as Gregorian Public School in Kerala, India.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Ivan Illich, "Guarding the Eye in the Age of Show" (PDF). Online Book, 2001, p. 16-17.
  2. ^ "Loyola High School (Kolkata)". Loyola High School Website.