Who WAS St. Patrick?

Who WAS St. Patrick? He was born Maewyn Succat, of Roman and British heritage, probably in Wales, possibly in Scotland, maybe in France, perhaps in AD 416, or was it in AD 387, but almost positively to a wealthy family. As a youth, he was not at

Statute of St. Patrick
all religious, or studious. At the age of 16, the future St. Patrick was kidnapped and was brought to and enslaved in Ireland. It was during his captivity that he found religion. For six years, he worked as a shepherd, until an angel appeared in a dream, urging him to escape. He did escape, and traveled hundreds of miles by foot, then traveled by boat, eventually settling in France, where he became a Monk at Marmoutier Abbey. After 20 years, he again received a celestial vision, telling him to return to Ireland, but as a bishop, with the purpose of converting non-believers to Catholicism, ostensibly under the orders of Pope Celestine.

While church records show that prior emissaries of the Pope had been similarly dispatched to Ireland with the same purpose, it
Statute of St. Patrick
was Patrick, or rather Patricius as he would then be known, who was to be thought of as the "Founding Father" of Irish Christianity, due in large part to his own writings in his Confessio and Letter to Coroticus.

St. Patrick died in the mid to late AD 400s, perhaps as late as AD 493. March 17 is the most likely day of his death, but little actual evidence of that exists. There is more evidence, however, as to the place of his death. It is generally assumed that he died in Saul, in County Down. He is said to have spent his last years there, returning to where years earlier he had been provided a barn that served as a church, after converting the local Chieftain Dichu to Christianity. There is a Grave of St.Patrick at what was Downs Cathedral, and where now stands a new Memorial Church of St. Patrick. A massive statute of St. Patrick was erected close by on the crest of Slieve (Mount) Patrick (photos shown above), and in the 1930s, a new Church of Ireland was erected close by, to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of St. Patrick's return to Ireland.


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