Why is it everyone is getting hammered today? Why is everyone wearing green and digging as deep as possible into their family history to eke out some Irish-ness? (Sure, owning an Irish Setter counts!)
Saint Patrick, of course! So, who the heck was he?
Saint Patrick, while not an alcoholic, was actually a pretty cool dude in the realm of the Catholic denom. of the Christian faith. He lived nearly two thousand years ago, and is widely known as the patron saint of Ireland. This you knew, right?
Yet, did you know that we’re celebrating the life he led, on the supposed day he died? Yep. Not a birthday, rather the death day of Banna Venta Berniae, Naomh Padraig, or the name we all know him by, St. Patrick.
In truth, many of the traditions associated with St. Patrick, may actually be attributed to Palladius, who was the first Roman Catholic Bishop sent to Ireland, where he worked diligently to suppress the Pelagian heresy in the geographic realm of Great Britain. He set forth to protect 5th Century Irish Christians from the exiles who looked to settle in Ireland. Regardless of his precedence, however, St. Patrick was incredibly popular with the Irish people, placing himself amongst those in need.
TV Evangelists, take note: St. Patrick was often criticized by local powers and principalities based on the fact that he didn’t charge people for baptisms, or ordaining priests. He gave freely to those in need, while doing other great works he claimed as his mission. Naturally, the people who wanted to buy him off, twisted the stories and more than likely accused him of what he was against. While it is known that he faced accusations during his life in Ireland, he never wrote of what they were.
St. Patrick also wrote of condemning and excommunicating Coroticus for slaughtering many Christian converts, and taking others into slavery as Coroticus and his soldiers were raiding Ireland. Standing up for the little guy! Pour the man a Guinness, I say!
And to close your brief history lesson: Everything you’ve heard about The Shamrock is true. It is the three leafed clover St. Patrick used to illustrate the concept of the Holy Trinity to the new, Irish Christians.
(Image via: Saint Patrick’s Catholic School)