Who Is Patrick, Saint Patron of Ireland?

March 17 is the time for London to dress in green colors and properly celebrate beer and Irish culture, but mostly beer though. Irish pubs will be flowing beer all day, dancing violon songs will resonate all across the city and green hats on top of people’s heads will be today’s uniform.

Saint Patrick’s Day is considered a national date for Ireland, celebrated at first by the Irish communities all around the world and soon by any western country keen on beer. Saint Patrick, also known as Master Patrick of Ireland, is the Saint Patron of Ireland and has supposedly died on March 17, hence the celebration date.

Around the 5th century, Patrick of Ireland was an English active Christian missionary sent to Ireland in order to convert tribes practicing pagan cults. He is now regarded as the founder of christianity in Ireland, although there are some evidence of earlier christian presence on the island.

In his “confessio”, a story he wrote according to his personal experiences. Patrick relates his kidnapping by Irish pirates when he was 16 from his way home to Britain. Turned to slave in Ireland, mostly looking after cattle and animals, that is when he discovered God and faith. In his confessions, he writes “Lord has mercy on my youth and ignorance”.

After six years of captivity in Ireland, he escaped back to Britain and his family to begin clerical training-ship.

Legend says he heard a voice telling him it was time for him to go back. He walked two hundred miles to find a ship which would allow him to travel back to Britain and when they did land, the crew had to walk for 28 days, suffering of thirst and hunger, before finally getting home. During this time, it is said that Patrick led the crew to survival, supporting them, encouraging them to pray and find strength in God.

Back in Britain, Patrick trained and studied christianity and returned to Ireland once again, but as bishop and active missionary. Patrick soon gained some notoriety for having charges pressed against him by his fellow Christian counterparts when he numerously refused to accept payments for baptisms and ordaining priests.

Still his Confessions, Patricks writes having “baptized thousands of people”, built new christian communities across Ireland, ordaining priests and converting princes and even some wealthy women to turning nuns.

Through his life mission in Ireland, his position was far from being an easy-one: a foreigner and a christian missionary who refused any kind of gifts from kings and tribe leaders. Without protection, Patricks writes having a walked in one or two unfortunate events. He was once beaten and robbed of all his belongings and another time when he was held captive for sixty days.

By the 7th century, Patrick of Ireland was already a renown figure and regarded as the Patron of Ireland.

Legend says St Patrick used to shamrock, one of the great symbols of Ireland, to illustrated the Holy Trinity while teaching christianity to Irish people. The shamrock has ever since become the symbol for St Patrick’s Day.


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