Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ]; Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Roman- British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, along with saints Brigit of Kildare and Columba. He is also venerated in the Anglican Communion, the Old Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.
The dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty, but there is broad agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century. Early medieval tradition credits him with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, and they regard him as the founder of Christianity in Ireland, converting a society practising a form of Celtic polytheism. He has been generally so regarded ever since, despite evidence of some earlier Christian presence in Ireland.
<p>The History of
St. Patrick's Day
Who was St. Patrick?
St. Patrick, the patron saint of
Ireland, is one of Christianity's
most widely known figures. But
for all his celebrity, his life
remains somewhat of a mystery.
It is known that St. Patrick was
born in Britain to wealthy parents
near the end of the fourth
century. He is believed to have
died on March 17, around 460
At the age of sixteen, Patrick was
taken prisoner by a group of Irish
raiders who were attacking his
family's estate. They transported
him to Ireland where he spent six
years in captivity.
Who was St. Patrick?
After more than six years as a prisoner,
Patrick escaped. According to his writing,
a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke
to him in a dream, telling him it was time
to leave Ireland.
Soon after, Patrick began religious training,
a course of study that lasted more than
fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest,
he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to
minister to Christians already living in Ireland and
to begin to convert the Irish.
Familiar with the Irish language and culture,
Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into
his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to
eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used
bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were
used to honoring their gods with fire. He also
superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto
the Christian cross to create what is now called a
Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol
would seem more natural to the Irish.
History of the Holiday
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast
day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The
Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for thousands
On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of
Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the
morning and celebrate in the afte