Wednesday, 16 March 2011

St Patrick's Day in Ireland

Until he was 16, Patrick considered himself pagan. Some Irish marauders raided his village at that age in the British mainland, and he was sold into slavery to Ireland. During his captivity He became aware of God's presence, and became a Christian. He escaped from slavery after six years, and went to Gaul to study in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for twelve years. During this time he was called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Ireland. He was appointed second bishop to Ireland. In winning many souls to Christ, he made enemies, not least the Celtic Druids who imprisoned him several times, but each time, amazingly, he escaped. It is believed that he raised people from the dead, and other astonishing miracles. He established monasteries, and set up schools and churches which helped him to convert Ireland to Christianity. One time he is said to have illustrated the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God Three Persons in One, by using a shamrock leaf, or clover with its three strands. His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. Subsequently, he retired to County Down. He died on March 17th in AD 461. That day has been celebrated as St. Patrick's Day since then.
Interestingly, Ireland was unique as being the only Western European country to avoid Roman conquest. It should be noted that Patrick and the early Celtic Church of Ireland rejected any foreign control of the church, recognising only Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. Roman Catholicism did not emerge in Ireland until many centuries later after the Saxon invasion

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