Who Was Saint Patrick?

As we approach the Irish High Holy Day Of Days, St. Patrick’s Day, we thought we’d let you know a bit about the man, the myths and legends!

He Was Born Where?

Patrick was neither born in Ireland nor was his name originally Patrick. He was born in Roman Britain (basically modern day England) and was originally named Maewyn Succat and, at different points in his life was called Magonus, Succetus and Cothirthiacus. Eventually, he settled on Patricius.

But, He Was Religious, Right?

Well…..not as a  young man. He chose to convert to Christianity when, at the age of 16, he was captured by Irish pirates and enslaved for six years as a shepherd. He tried unsuccessfully to escape Ireland but was captured by the French and was held in France where he learned about monasticism. Eventually, he was released back to Britain where he continued to study Christianity.

A few years later he returned to Ireland with the hope of converting the druids and pagans to Christianity. His welcome was less than, well, welcoming and he was exiled to an island off the coast where he continued to preach and convert. He was eventually able to move back to the mainland where, during the course of his life, he baptized thousands.

The Myths

He didn’t actually banish snakes from Ireland, because they didn’t have any to begin with!
St Patrick is a saint in name only and has never received the official title.

The Legend

Actual saint or no, St. Patrick’s day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, March 17, 461 AD.

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Sharon Quataert