St. Patrick’s Legacy, Irish influence and scholarship

Patrick is the best remembered Christian missionary to Ireland. His name has come to represent the many unknown clerics who worked in Ireland before and after him. The influence of the Irish missionaries, carriers of classical learning and disseminators of theological and philosophical thought cannot be overemphasized. Vast collections of Irish manuscripts are to be found in all the great libraries across Europe. I brought a theologian friend to see the amazing Book of Kells at Trinity University recently. He wasn’t disappointed.

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This Church below is the most ancient ecclesiastical site in Ireland. St. Patrick built the first Christian Church in this land right here in 432 A.D. This is the cradle of Irish Christianity. The Church has continued to worship God through the centuries, holding fast to the Faith which Patrick taught.

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Below is a picture of friends and visitors from America outside St. Patrick’s first Church in Saul County Down;

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This prayer was on a wall inside the Church:

Go forth, traveller, in the Name which is above every name: Be of good courage: Hold fast that which is good. Repay to no man evil for evil; Strengthen the faint-hearted: Support the weak; Help the afflicted: Honour all men: Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day !

Published by Jeanette Dean

I'm a life long learner. I've been on a voyage of discovery since childhood so ask why a lot. I'm Irish and a bit American. I write because its freeing and healing. I love photography, theology, the natural beauty of Ireland and swimming in the sea year round. I see the world through the lens of Celtic Christianity but can try on other perspectives. The business of everyday spirituality has always fascinated me. I hope this blog challenges, inspires and encourages you. Perhaps you'd like to work with me. Please reach out to me if that's the case. I'd love to hear from YOU so please comment and let me know you are out there!

2 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Legacy, Irish influence and scholarship

  1. St. Patrick (Roman name Patricius) is Welsh and in the 400’s AD England and Wales were under the Roman Empire but the dying days of the empire and the Irish Celts took full advantage raising along the Western coastline of England and Wales taking 1000’s of slaves back to Ireland. Patricius was one of those kidnapped slaves taken to Slemish mountain in County Antrim Northern Ireland and for six years works as a sheep herder but escaped goes back to his family Wales and heads to Gaul Northern France where he studied Christianity. He has a vision to come back to Ireland and convert us pagans to Christianity.

    He comes back in the year 432AD first to Saul just outside Downpatrick where he sets up his first church which was wooden at the time, not the present church which was built.much later but on the same site and known as Saul Church of Ireland. A very beautiful peaceful scenic location and if lucky you may meet the organist a lovely lady who is on occasion in there practicing.

    St. Patrick was not the only Saint to work on converting us Irish pagans who were of the Druidic Pagan beliefs. St Brigid was also very popular because it was reputed she could turn water into whiskey. No real surprise there but he is our National Saint and the person most accredited with converting us. After setting up his first church at Saul he headed for the hill of Tara were the High Kings of Ireland were coronated and held their seat of power. Remember the High Kings ruled Ireland for nearly 1500 years and back then we had 5 provinces of which the counties of Meath and Westmeath today were known back then as the Royal province. The high king in 432AD was King Laoghaire the 6th last of all Celtic high kings. Patrick gets an audience with King Laoghaire, he brings a shamrock with him to explain the God, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Why a shamrock? Because the shamrock was sacred to the Druidic pagan faith and he didn’t want to frighten them off so he cleverly incorporated some of their customs into his Christianity teachings. It worked King Laoghaire was convinced and converted. The Celtic Christain crossed you see in early graveyards around Ireland where you have a circle structure around the cross symbolises the Sun which was sacred to the Druidic faith. So again Irish early christianity incorporated Druidic pagan customs into their christianity symbols of worship and prayer to bring the celts onboard. Finally you will often hear it said that St. Patrick got rid of all the snakes out of Ireland, now if you believe that it is just about as good as believing polar bears exist in the Sahara Desert. But! What is probably meant here is that St. Patrick wrote his own autobiography known as the Confessio (Confession) and in it he refers to the Druidic high Priests who had serpents on their robes and it is now thought that what is meant by that statement is that St. Patrick was responsible for driving the Druidic High Priests out of Ireland.

    I hope you may find this of interest. Of course there is so much more that can be said regarding St.Patrick and I would encourage anyone visiting Ireland to go to Downpatrick Heritage Centre and on to Saul Church and afterwards through the beautiful mountains of Mourne as they sweep down to the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

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