Darkpassion 58F
228 posts
3/16/2006 3:46 pm

Last Read:
3/29/2006 5:27 pm


We all celebrate these saints days without much thought to the history, so for your info a biog.

I wont be celebrating this year as I'm working
......I suspect I will make up for it on Sunday.

St Patrick - the story

St Patrick was born a Briton under Roman rule - the exact location of his birthplace isn't known but it was either the north of England or southern Scotland.

In his teens he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave by Niall of the Nine Hostages, a famous king of Ireland whose son Laoghaire was later to play a large part in Patrick's mission to convert Ireland to Christianity.

Patrick was taken to Antrim where he was sold to a local landowner, Meliuc, who put him to work as a shepherd.

For six long years Patrick lived upon the Slemish mountain with only his sheep for company. The land was bleak and the conditions harsh but Patrick found solace in the faith that his people had abandoned under Roman rule. He prayed day and night to the Christian God who brought him comfort during this time.

One night he heard a voice calling to him, telling him that the time had come to escape. It told him, "See, your ship is ready." Patrick knew that he had to travel south to seek the ship God had told him of. He travelled for 200 miles until he came to Wexford where, sure enough, a boat heading for Britain was waiting.

Patrick approached the captain, who at first denied him passage. He turned away, praying for God's guidance. Before he finished the prayer he heard a member of the crew calling to him to come with them - they had changed their mind and could provide him with safe passage home.

Patrick did not seem destined to have an easy life - when travelling home through Britain he was captured by a band of brigands, who returned him to slavery. Desperate, Patrick heard God's voice reassuring him that, "Two months will you be with them."

Sure enough, after sixty days in their company, God delivered him from their hands. Patrick then spent seven years travelling throughout Europe trying to determine what his purpose on earth was. Eventually he came to the conclusion that he should study to become a true servant of God, taking his message throughout the world.

He first studied at the Lerin Monastery, situated on an island off the Cote d' Azur. On completing his studies he returned to Britain as a priest. He remained in Britain until a voice came to him in a dream. He recognised it as the voice of the Irish, which begged him, "We beseech thee, holy youth, to come and walk once more amongst us." At this point, Patrick's purpose in life was revealed to him - he would convert the Irish to Christianity.
Patrick was a man of limited education, having been taken from his family and sold into slavery at such a young age. He decided to return to his studies and travelled to the Monastery of Auxerre in France, where he was known for his dedication and enthusiasm.

During his time at Auxerre, the monks decided that the time had come to send a mission to Ireland. Patrick was sorely disappointed when his request to be sent to Ireland was denied and another monk, Palladius, was chosen instead.

Curbing his disappointment, Patrick settled back into his studies. After a year or two, news that Palladius had died reached the monastery. Another mission was now to be sent to Ireland, which Patrick was to lead. He was called to Rome, and in 432 Pope Celestine bequeathed the honour of Bishop upon him before he embarked on his holy mission.

Patrick and 25 followers arrived in Ireland in the winter of 432. The band of religious crusaders spent the winter sheltering under the kind patronage of Dichiu, a local landowner, who was one of the first Irish converts to Christianity.

In the spring, Patrick decided to confront the High King of Tara, the most powerful man in Ireland. Patrick knew that if he could enlist his support then he would be free to take God's message to the people of Ireland. To gain his attention Patrick knew he would have to make a dramatic signal.

In direct breach of the king's orders, Patrick and his supporters built a huge fire on March 25. This was the traditional start of spring, and was celebrated by King Laoghaire, the High King of Tara, with the lighting of a massive fire. No fire was to be lit before the king's.

Seeing flames rise high in the air, King Laoghaire was incensed. He gathered the princes of Ireland around him, and they raced in their war chariots to find the usurper who challenged the High King's authority.

When the groups met, the contrast between them was dramatic. The King and his princes wore bejewelled garments, which illustrated the stark plainness of the vestments worn by Patrick and his holy followers. Patrick spoke clearly and concisely to King Laoghaire explaining who they were and that they had no intentions other than spreading the Gospel throughout the land.

St Patrick's composure and quiet confidence impressed King Loaghaire. He invited him to the Royal Court at Tara the following day. The procession approached Tara, led by St Patrick bearing a massive cross. They sang a hymn that is still known as the Breastplate of St Patrick.

The missionaries must have been astounded at the opulence that greeted them when they entered the hall at Tara, having been used to the formality of Roman style. Ignoring the many gathered there, St Patrick approached King Laoghaire and said, " Here I am." The King responded by taking St Patrick's hands in his and kissing him on the cheek.

The druids were incensed at the King's actions - as they would be out of a job if the King accepted Patrick's religion - and demanded to know whether he could create snow. Sensing a trap, Patrick replied that it was God's place, not his, to determine the weather. Astonished, he gazed out to the countryside which moments before had been basking in the spring sun. Now, blankets of snow were cascading down. St Patrick, knowing no other course of action, made the sign of the cross and, miraculously the snow disappeared and the sunshine resumed.
King Laoghaire then asked St Patrick to tell them of the religion he wished Ireland to accept. He explained that, unlike the Gaels, the Christians worshipped only one God who had three personalities - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The druids fell about laughing at what they believed was a ridiculous concept.

Patrick, in desperation, prayed to God for inspiration. Casting his eyes about the ground he focused on a patch of shamrock. He plucked it from the ground and held it in his hands. "Here," he said to his audience. "There is one stem but there are three leaves on it. So it is with the Blessed Trinity. There is one God but three persons stemming from the same divinity."

King Laoghaire, impressed by Patrick's devotion and rhetoric, gave him his blessing to preach the Gospel throughout Ireland. He himself refused to accept Christianity believing it would be a betrayal of his ancestors, who had entrusted him with the land and its traditions. He wouldn't stop Patrick from preaching his religion but he wouldn't actively try and promote Patrick's message.

The patronage of King Laoghaire allowed Patrick freedom to travel the Land. Flocks of people came to him and converted to the religion of Christianity. Slowly but surely Ireland became a Christian land. St Patrick is known for driving the snakes from Ireland. However, snakes were at that time a symbol of paganism, and it was really paganism he drove out.

At the age of 50, Patrick made a pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick. While he was in devotion, the devil came to him and tried to tempt him - he resisted. Eventually God sent an angel to reward Patrick for his courage in denying the devil. Patrick was granted a request from Our Lord. He asked that the Irish should keep the Christian faith for all time and that they should be spared the horrors of the Day of Judgement.

When that time came, Patrick could judge his beloved Irish himself. It is from this time that the legend that Ireland will be drowned under a sea of water seven years before the Last Day originates.

In 441 Patrick returned to Rome to pay homage to the new Pope, Leo I. He was given relics from Saints Peter and Paul which, on his return to Ireland, he placed in his new chapel at the Metropolitan See in Armagh.

By the spring of 461, at the age of 76, St Patrick was nearing his end. He died on March 17th after a long and fruitful life. The clans of Ireland began to bicker over who should receive the honour of having his final resting place on their land. To avoid this sacrilegious end to his life his friends secreted away his body to bury in a secret grave. Many believe this to be in Downpatrick, Co. Down.

caressmewell 54F

3/16/2006 4:44 pm

Happy St. Patricks Day

Darkpassion 58F

3/17/2006 9:39 am

Thanks Caress hope you've been having a good day.
Nips I think there maybe more than a drop of Irish in me. During the potato famine some went to Scotland then onto the West Indies. My parents come from Montserrat where there are as many O'Briens, Osbournes and Ryans as in Ireland. Mother's side however are French Hugenot. One day when I have a mo I might look into it a bit deeper.

aascrompn 43M
6444 posts
3/22/2006 12:51 pm

Very nice history lesson, thanks! I was trashed... lol

Green_Tea_Boy 51M
1064 posts
3/23/2006 9:03 am


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