PATRISTICS/ Patrick of Ireland
Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Primitive Irish: *Qatrikias; Old Irish: Cothraige or Coithrige; Middle Irish: Pátraic; Irish: Pádraig; British: *Patrikios; Old Welsh: Patric; Middle Welsh: Padric; Welsh: Padrig; Old English: Patric; c. 387-17 March, 493 was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland (although Brigid of Kildare and Colmcille are also formally patron saints).
Our father among the saints Patrick of Ireland, Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland, was born a Briton. Captured and brought to Ireland as a slave, he escaped and returned home. Later, he returned to Ireland, bringing Christianity to its people. His feast day is March 17.
Saint Patrick was born around 390 (likely in 387), at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland. His name is from the Latin Patricius, meaning high-born. His parents were part of the Christian minority of Britain; his father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, "the son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ."
At the age of 16, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. During that time, he prayed frequently and came for the first time to have a true faith in God. At age 22, he had a vision in which God told him to be prepared to leave Ireland. Soon, he escaped, walking 200 miles to a ship and returning to England. In a dream, he saw the people of Ireland calling him, "We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us."
St Patrick sought clerical training. He was ordained by St. Germanus, bishop of Auxerre. Around 430 he was ordained a bishop, after which he returned to Ireland. There, he preached the Gospel, reaching tribal chieftains, gaining their permission to teach their subjects also. During his episcopate, he was attacked for a sin he confessed to a close friend, a sin he committed "in a single hour" when only 15, but he did not suffer as a result. He established an episcopal administration and led a monastic lifestyle, establishing Christianity in Ireland. St. Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 461.
St. Patrick is said to be buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down, alongside St. Brigid and St. Columba, although this has never been proven. The Battle for the Body of St. Patrick demonstrates the importance of both him as a spiritual leader, and of his body as an object of veneration, in early Christian Ireland. Saint Patrick Visitor Centre is a modern exhibition complex located in Downpatrick and is a permanent interpretative exhibition center featuring interactive displays on the life and story of Saint Patrick. It provides the only permanent exhibition center in the world devoted to Saint Patrick.
Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes; one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul (see Carnutes), or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolised as "serpents." Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God' (as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick's time).
Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.
The 12th century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. The two were once members of Fionn mac Cumhaill's warrior band the Fianna, and somehow survived to Patrick's time. They traveled with the saint and told him their stories.
SAINTHOOD AND MODERN REMEMBRANCE
March 17, popularly known as St. Patrick's Day, is believed to be his death date and is the date celebrated as his feast day. The day became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary in the early part of the 17th century.
For most of Christianity's first thousand years, canonizations were done on the diocesan or regional level. Relatively soon after the death of people considered to be very holy people, the local Church affirmed that they could be liturgically celebrated as saints. As a result, St. Patrick has never been formally canonized by a Pope; nevertheless, various Christian churches declare that he is a Saint in Heaven (he is in the List of Saints). He is still widely venerated in Ireland and elsewhere today.
St. Patrick is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on March 17.
St. Patrick is also venerated in the Orthodox Church, especially among English-speaking Orthodox Christians living in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and in North America.
IMAGE Saint Patrick Mosaic 1 by Boris Anrep. Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar.