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Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠɑːɾˠɪɟ] or [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ]; Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", He's the first patron saint of Ireland, the opposite patron saints becoming Brigid of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was never ever formally canonised,[2] getting lived in advance of The present laws in the Catholic Church in these issues. Yet, He's venerated to be a saint inside the Catholic Church, the Church of Eire, and from the Japanese Orthodox Church, the place He's viewed as equivalent-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.[three]

The dates of Patrick's lifetime can not be mounted with certainty, but there's general agreement that he was Energetic like a missionary in Eire during the fifth century. A recent biography[4] on Patrick demonstrates a late fourth-century date for that saint will not be extremely hard.[five] In accordance with custom dating in the early Center Ages, Patrick was the 1st bishop of Armagh and Primate of Eire, and is also credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, changing a pagan Modern society. He continues to be normally so regarded ever since, Irrespective of proof of some previously Christian presence.[6]

According to Patrick's autobiographical Confessio, when he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates from his house in Britain and taken like a slave to Ireland. He writes that he lived there for six decades as an animal herder prior to escaping and returning to his relatives. Immediately after starting to be a cleric, he returned to spread Christianity in northern and western Ireland. In later existence, he served being a bishop, but minor is known about the place he worked. With the seventh century, he experienced previously come to be revered because the patron saint of Ireland.

His feast day is observed on seventeen March, the intended date of his Loss of life. It is celebrated in Eire and among the Irish diaspora like a spiritual and cultural holiday break. Inside the dioceses of Eire, it really is each a solemnity plus a holy day of obligation.


Two Latin works survive which happen to be normally accepted as having been composed by St. Patrick. These are typically the Declaration (Latin: Confessio)[7] as well as the Letter towards the troopers of Coroticus (Latin: Epistola),[8] from which occur the only real frequently accepted specifics of his lifestyle.[nine] The Declaration is the more biographical of the two. In it, Patrick offers a brief account of his life and his mission. Most out there information of his daily life are from subsequent hagiographies and annals, that have sizeable worth but absence the empiricism scholars rely on these days.[ten]


The one identify that Patrick makes use of for himself in his individual writings is Pātricius [paːˈtrɪ.ki.ʊs], which supplies Aged Irish: Pátraic [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ] and Irish: Pádraig ([ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ] or [ˈpˠɑːɾˠɪɟ]); English Patrick; Scottish Gaelic: Pàdraig; Welsh: Padrig; Cornish: Petroc.

Hagiography records other names he is alleged to obtain borne. Tírechán's seventh-century Collectanea offers: "Magonus, that is, popular; Succetus, that is, god of war; Patricius, which is, father of your citizens; Cothirthiacus, simply because he served 4 properties of druids."[eleven] "Magonus" seems in the ninth century Historia Brittonum as Maun, descending from British *Magunos, that means "servant-lad".[11] "Succetus", which also appears in Muirchú moccu Machtheni's seventh century Lifetime as Sochet,[11] is recognized by Mac Neill as "a word of British origin this means swineherd".[12] Cothirthiacus also seems as Cothraige while in the 8th century biographical poem often called Fiacc's Hymn and a range of other spellings somewhere else, and is also taken to stand for a Primitive Irish: *Qatrikias, While This is certainly disputed. Harvey argues that Cothraige "has the form of a typical Old Irish tribal (and therefore area-) name", noting that Ail Coithrigi is a reputation to the Rock of Cashel, as well as the place-names Cothrugu and Catrige are attested in Counties Antrim and Carlow.[thirteen]


The reputed burial spot of Saint Patrick in Downpatrick

The dates of Patrick's life are uncertain; there are conflicting traditions concerning the year of his Dying. His individual writings supply no evidence for virtually any courting extra exact as opposed to 5th century frequently. His Biblical quotations are a mix in the Aged Latin Variation along with the Vulgate, accomplished in the early 5th century, suggesting he was writing "at The purpose of changeover from Previous Latin to Vulgate",[fourteen] even though it can be done the Vulgate readings may possibly happen to be added afterwards, changing previously readings.[15] The Letter to Coroticus indicates which the Franks were continue to pagans at time of writing:[sixteen] their conversion to Christianity is dated towards the period 496–508.[17]

The Irish annals for your fifth century day Patrick's arrival in Ireland at 432, Nevertheless they ended up compiled while in the mid sixth century with the earliest.[16] The day 432 was almost certainly selected to minimise the contribution of Palladius, who was known to happen to be despatched to Eire in 431, and maximise that of Patrick.[18] A variety of dates are supplied for his Loss of life. In 457 "the elder Patrick" (Irish: Patraic Sen) is alleged to own died: this might make reference to the Demise of Palladius, who according to the Reserve of Armagh was also known as Patrick.[18] In 461/2 the annals mention that "In this article some report the repose of Patrick";[19]: 19  in 492/3 they history the Loss of life of "Patrick, the arch-apostle (or archbishop and apostle) in the Scoti", on 17 March, for the age of one hundred twenty.[19]: 31 

While some contemporary historians[twenty] acknowledge the sooner day of c. 460 for Patrick's Demise, Students of early Irish background are likely to like a later on day, c. 493. Supporting the afterwards day, the annals history that in 553 "the relics of Patrick were put sixty years soon after his Demise inside a shrine by Colum Cille" (emphasis extra).[21] The Dying of Patrick's disciple Mochta is dated during the annals to 535 or 537,[21][22] along with the early hagiographies "all carry Patrick into connection with individuals whose obits occur at the end of the fifth century or the beginning from the sixth".[23] However, E. A. Thompson argues that none of the dates presented for Patrick's Dying during the Annals are reputable.[24] A recent biography argues that a late fifth-century day for the saint isn't unattainable.[25]: 34–35 


Late Roman Britain


Patrick was born at the end of Roman rule in Britain. His birthplace is not really acknowledged with any certainty; some traditions place it in what's now England—one particular identifying it as Glannoventa (contemporary Ravenglass in Cumbria). In 1981, Thomas argued at duration for the regions of Birdoswald, 20 miles (32 km) east of Carlisle on Hadrian's Wall. Thomas 1981, pp. 310–fourteen. In 1993, Paor glossed it as "[most likely near] Carlisle". You will find there's Roman town referred to as Bannaventa in Northamptonshire, that's phonically comparable to the Bannavem Taburniae talked about in Patrick’s confession, but this might be far too far from the sea.[26] Claims have also been Sophisticated for locations in present-working day Scotland, While using the Catholic Encyclopedia stating that Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland,[27] and in 1926 Eoin MacNeill also Highly developed a assert for South Wales.[28]

Patrick's father, Calpurnius, is described as a decurion (Senator and tax collector) of an unspecified Romano-British city, and as being a deacon; his grandfather Potitus was a priest from Bonaven Tabernia.[29] Having said that, Patrick's confession states he was not an active believer in his youth.

According to the Confession of Saint Patrick, in the age of sixteen he was captured by a gaggle of Irish pirates, from his spouse and children's Villa at "Bannavem Taburniae".[30] They took him to Ireland in which he was enslaved and held captive for 6 yrs. Patrick writes from the Confession[30] which the time he invested in captivity was significant to his spiritual enhancement. He describes the Lord had mercy on his youth and ignorance, and afforded him the opportunity to be forgiven his sins and change to Christianity. Though in captivity, he worked as being a shepherd and strengthened his relationship with God by means of prayer, inevitably main him to convert to Christianity.[thirty]

Soon after six a long time of captivity he heard a voice telling him that he would before long go house, and then that his ship was All set. Fleeing his master, he travelled to the port, two hundred miles away,[31] wherever he found a ship and with trouble persuaded the captain to acquire him. Just after 3 times' sailing, they landed, presumably in Britain, and seemingly all left the ship, walking for 28 times inside a "wilderness" and starting to be faint from hunger. Patrick's account of his escape from slavery and return home to Britain is recounted in his Declaration.[32] Just after Patrick prayed for sustenance, they encountered a herd of wild boar;[33] since this was Soon right after Patrick had urged them to put their faith in God, his prestige in the team was drastically enhanced. Right after several adventures, he returned dwelling to his household, now in his early twenties.[34] After returning home to Britain, Patrick continued to review Christianity.

Patrick recounts that he experienced a eyesight a several years following returning dwelling:

I saw a man coming, mainly because it have been from Eire. His identify was Victoricus, and he carried a lot of letters, and he gave me one of them. I examine the heading: "The Voice in the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that instant which i read the voice of All those really individuals that had been near the wood of Foclut, which happens to be beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with 1 voice: "We attract you, holy servant boy, to return and walk among the us."[35]

A.B.E. Hood indicates that the Victoricus of St. Patrick's vision could be determined with Saint Victricius, bishop of Rouen inside the late fourth century, who experienced visited Britain within an Formal capability in 396.[36] On the other hand, Ludwig Bieler disagrees.[37]

Patrick studied in Europe principally at Auxerre, but is believed to acquire visited the Marmoutier Abbey, Excursions and to acquire received the tonsure at Lérins Abbey. Saint Germanus of Auxerre, a bishop in the Western Church, ordained him towards the priesthood.[38][39]

"Patrick likely to Tara", illustration from the 1904 ebook

Performing on his vision, Patrick returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary.[thirty] In line with J. B. Bury, his landing put was Wicklow, Co. Wicklow, at the mouth of your river Inver-dea, and that is now known as the Vartry.[40] Bury suggests that Wicklow was also the port by which Patrick created his escape right after his 6 several years' captivity, nevertheless he provides only circumstantial proof to assistance this.[41] Custom has it that Patrick was not welcomed via the locals and was pressured to depart and find a far more welcoming landing area additional north. He rested for a few times within the islands from the Skerries coast, amongst which nevertheless retains the identify of Inis-Patrick. The 1st sanctuary devoted by Patrick was at Saul. Soon thereafter Benin (or Benignus), son from the chieftain Secsnen, joined Patrick's team.[39]

A lot of your Declaration issues expenses designed from Patrick by his fellow Christians in a trial. What these prices ended up, he doesn't say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the items which rich Girls gave him, didn't accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and without a doubt paid For a lot of presents to kings and judges, and paid with the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It truly is concluded, thus, that he was accused of some sort of monetary impropriety, and perhaps of getting acquired his bishopric in Eire with individual attain in your mind.[42]

The condemnation might need contributed to his decision to return to Ireland. In keeping with Patrick's newest biographer, Roy Flechner, the Confessio was penned partially for a defence versus his detractors, who didn't feel that he was taken to Eire as being a slave, In spite of Patrick's vigorous insistence that he was.[forty three] Patrick sooner or later returned to Eire, possibly settling in the west of the island, where, in later lifetime, he grew to become a bishop and ordained subordinate clerics.

Stained glass window in Carlow Cathedral, exhibiting St Patrick preaching to Irish kings.



From this exact proof, one thing may be seen of Patrick's mission. He writes that he "baptised thousands of people today",[forty four] even planning to convert his slavers.[32] He ordained priests to guide The brand new Christian communities. He converted wealthy Gals, a few of whom turned nuns during the face of family members opposition. He also handled the sons of kings, changing them too.[forty five] The Confessio is mostly obscure about the main points of his do the job in Ireland, while providing some unique situations. This is partly simply because, as he states at factors, he was producing for a neighborhood viewers of Christians who knew him and his get the job done. There are many mentions of travelling round the island, and of in some cases tough interactions With all the ruling elite. He does assert from the Irish:

Under no circumstances prior to did they know of God apart from to provide idols and unclean issues. But now, they have become the persons from the Lord, and therefore are referred to as youngsters of God. The sons and daughters of the leaders with the Irish are observed to become monks and virgins of Christ![forty six]

Patrick's situation as being a foreigner in Ireland was not a simple a person. His refusal to accept presents from kings placed him outside the traditional ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Lawfully he was without having security, and he claims that he was on 1 occasion crushed, robbed of all he had, and place in chains, Probably awaiting execution.[47] Patrick says that he was also "a few years later on" a captive for 60 days, without having giving facts.[48]

Murchiú's life of Saint Patrick contains a meant prophecy from the druids which supplies an impression of how Patrick together with other Christian missionaries were being found by those hostile to them:

Throughout the sea will arrive Adze-head,[49] crazed in the head,

his cloak with hole for The pinnacle, his adhere bent in The pinnacle.

He will chant impieties from the table in the entrance of his house;

all his folks will solution: "so be it, so be it."[50]

The 2nd bit of evidence that originates from Patrick's daily life would be the Letter to Coroticus or Letter for the Soldiers of Coroticus, prepared soon after a first remonstrance was acquired with ridicule and insult. With this, Patrick writes[51] an open up letter announcing that he has excommunicated Coroticus because he experienced taken several of Patrick's converts into slavery although raiding in Ireland. The letter describes the followers of Coroticus as "fellow citizens on the devils" and "associates in the Scots [of Dalriada and later Argyll] and Apostate Picts".[fifty two] Primarily based largely on an eighth-century gloss, Coroticus is taken for being King Ceretic of Alt Clut.[fifty three] Thompson on the other hand proposed that determined by the proof it is more very likely that Coroticus was a British Roman living in Ireland.[54] It's been advised that it absolutely was the sending of the letter which provoked the trial which Patrick mentions during the Confession.[55]

Seventh-century writings

An early doc which can be silent regarding Patrick could be the letter of Columbanus to Pope Boniface IV of about 613. Columbanus writes that Ireland's Christianity "was to start with handed to us by you, the successors from the holy apostles", apparently referring to Palladius only, and disregarding Patrick.[56] Writing around the Easter controversy in 632 or 633, Cummian—it really is unsure regardless of whether This really is Cumméne Fota, related to Clonfert, or Cumméne Find—does confer with Patrick, contacting him "our papa"; that may be, pope or primate.[57]

Two functions by late seventh-century hagiographers of Patrick have survived. These are the writings of Tírechán and also the Vita sancti Patricii of Muirchú moccu Machtheni.[58] Both of those writers relied upon an previously get the job done, now dropped, the E book of Ultán.[fifty nine] This Ultán, most likely exactly the same particular person as Ultan of Ardbraccan, was Tírechán's foster-father. His obituary is specified while in the Annals of Ulster under the calendar year 657.[60] These operates thus date from a century and a 50 % right after Patrick's Demise.

Tírechán writes, "I found 4 names for Patrick published from the book of Ultán, bishop from the tribe of Conchobar: holy Magonus (that is certainly, "well-known"); Succetus (which is, the god of war); Patricius (that is certainly, father with the citizens); Cothirtiacus (because he served four properties of druids)."[sixty one]

Muirchu data Significantly precisely the same information, introducing that "[h]is mom was named Concessa".[62] The identify Cothirtiacus, on the other hand, is actually the Latinised type of Outdated Irish Cothraige, that is the Q-Celtic form of Latin Patricius.[sixty three]

The Patrick portrayed by Tírechán and Muirchu is really a martial determine, who contests with druids, overthrows pagan idols, and curses kings and kingdoms.[sixty four] Once in a while, their accounts contradict Patrick's very own writings: Tírechán states that Patrick accepted items from woman converts Despite the fact that Patrick himself flatly denies this. Having said that, the emphasis Tírechán and Muirchu put on feminine converts, and particularly royal and noble Women of all ages who grew to become nuns, is considered a genuine Perception into Patrick's function of conversion. Patrick also labored While using the unfree as well as the lousy, encouraging them to vows of monastic chastity. Tírechán's account indicates a large number of early Patrician church buildings were being coupled with nunneries founded by Patrick's noble woman converts.[sixty five]

The martial Patrick present in Tírechán and Muirchu, and in afterwards accounts, echoes equivalent figures found in the course of the conversion on the Roman Empire to Christianity. It may be doubted no matter whether these kinds of accounts are an correct illustration of Patrick's time, although