The History of Saint Patrick

saint patrick

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, as such he is celebrated on March 17th, not only in Ireland but in almost every country around the world as people celebrate their Irish heritage and ancestry. On March 17th ,every year countries around the world turn buildings, rivers and landmarks green to emulate the Emerald Isle.

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St. patrick’s day Dublin

 

 

 

 

 The Life of St Patrick

 

Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland was born in the second half of the 4th century.

He was believed to have been raised in a village in the lowlands of Scotland, despite his father being a deacon, as a young boy Patrick did not have much of a believe.

That all changed when, at the age of sixteen Patrick was kidnapped along with many others by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland, the next six years were spent in virtual isolation in the north of Ireland and he worked as a shepard on Mount Slemish in Co. Antrim.

During this period he became increasingly religious. He considered his kidnapping and imprisonment as a punishment for his lack of faith and spent a lot of time in prayer.

After a vision from an angel of God told him to make his way south to Dublin where he could stow away on a ship bound for Britain, Patrick escaped and returned back to his family.

Upon his return he realised he had a vocation to the church and joined the priesthood.

Later, as he said himself in his “Confessions,” he had dreams of the Irish, whom he had heard ‘calling’ in the night “Come back to us Patrick.”

This inspired him to return to Ireland as a priest, though he did not return immediately. At this point he didn’t feel adequately prepared for a life as a missionary. His studies took him to France where he was trained in a monastery; he dedicated this period of his life to learning. It was 12 years before he returned to Irish shores as a bishop sent with the Pope’s blessing.

Saint Patrick began travelling the length and breadth of Ireland converting the pagan Celts to Christianity he knew what his mission would be, and how difficult it was, but he trusted always in the power of God to deliver him, and so he went about evangelizing. He did this by setting up many quasi-monastic structures in towns and villages when he passed through them.

He preached daily about the Kingdom of Heaven and baptised those who accepted the Gospel. Those who excelled in their faith, he ordained to the deaconate, leaving them in charge of the prayer in their communities; in many cases he ordained devout men to the priesthood. Later he was able to select from them good and brave men whom he consecrated as bishops with the approval of the Pope.  He was also successful in setting up dioceses in larger towns as he journeyed throughout the island of Ireland.

By the time he died towards the end of the 5th century St. Patrick was accredited for laying the foundations not only for the Catholic Church in Ireland, but for all of Western Europe.

 

St. Patrick and the Celtic Cross

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The legend states that Saint Patrick was preaching close to a pagan standing stone which would have been carved with a circle to symbolise the pagan sun God. The stone would have been considered sacred to the Celts.

Saint Patrick drew a Latin cross through the circle, and blessing the stone. In this way, he is said to have created the first celtic cross and showed himself willing to adapt heathen practices and symbols in order to ease the transition from pagan to Christian.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick and the Shamrock

shamrock

 

Perhaps the best known legend of St. Patrick involves the shamrock, known throughout the world as      a symbol of Irish heritage. After spending so much time here he would have known that the number three had major significance to the pagan Celts. He used the shamrock, a three-leaved clover which grows all over the island, to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, the theory that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are each separate elements of one entity.

 

 

St. Patrick banishing the snakes

 

Legend is known that Saint Patrick is accredited with driving all the snakes from Ireland.

In many images of the saint, Patrick is seen standing on or banishing snakes.

It is, however, very unlikely there were ever any snakes in Ireland due to the colder climates, after all Ireland was once known as Hibernate, which means Land of Winter. The banishing of the snakes is believed to be more of a metaphor reflecting St. Patrick’s success at removing pagan influence from the Ireland.

 

 

St. Patrick’s Breastplate   

written by Saint Patrick himself

 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation. Amen!

 

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