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A Short History of

St. Patrick


St. Patrick's Day History - Pirates, Patrick and the Celts
By: Tippy & Alfred

Contrary to what you may have thought, St. Patrick wasn't
born Irish. According to some sources, St. Patrick was born
March 17, around 385 AD in Scotland. (Note: Other sources
say that Patrick actually died on March 17 and that the day
a person dies is the "holy day" and thus becomes a saint's
holiday celebration.)

His father was an Italian named Calpurnius, who was said to
be crafty in war and an official for the Roman government.
His mother is believed to have been Scottish. His real name
was Maewyn; Patrick was his Christian name that he took
after his conversion. He was captured and sold into slavery
by a band of Irish pirates. He worked as a shepherd/slave in
Ireland for six years. After six years he had a vision
telling him "Thy ship is ready for thee." and was able to
escape soon after.

After escaping, he apparently lived in Europe, but scholars
differ on the location. Most believe he escaped to the north
coast of Gaul. It is told that while he lived in Gaul
(France), he decided to become a monk and devote himself to
God. This is where he changed his name to Patrick. It was
during this time he is said to have had another vision to go
back to Ireland and "convert the pagans to Christianity."

The pagans this referred to were the Celts, from whom
Ireland received its original name of Irlanda. The Celtic
Religion was based on the love of Nature as a God. They
believed that people were as much an element of the Earth as
were the plants and animals. As a consequence of their
religion, the Celts were scientifically oriented and their
priests (Druids) are credited with a large number of
scientific discoveries.

St. Patrick belonged to the Culdee Church (Celtic) when he
began his work as a missionary. Incidentally, St. Patrick
didn't stamp out all the old Irish rites in the church he
began; instead, he blended them with the Christian customs.
An example is the Christian Spring Bonfire of the Celts,
which St. Patrick introduced as the ritual of the Easter
Bonfire for the churches. The Christian church of Ireland,
as founded by St. Patrick, existed approximately 700 years
independent from England.

How did the rumor that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of
Ireland originate?

Some scholars feel that when the Norsemen from the
Scandinavian countries invaded Irlanda, (Ireland) they
misheard the name "Patrick" as their Scandinavian word
"Paudrid" which means Expeller of Toads. Thus, the Norsemen
looked around and because they saw no Toads or Snakes
decided that their "Paudrid" must have really done his job
well and so they credited "Paudrid" (Patrick) with making
Ireland snake and toad free.

Another suggestion is that since the snake is commonly
considered a pagan or satanic symbol in Christian cultures,
the saying is symbolically saying that Patrick drove out
paganism. In any event, science now shows that there likely
really were never any snakes or toads living on the island
of Ireland.

St. Patrick ministered in Ireland for thirty years, and is
said to have died in 464, at the age of approximately 79
years old. At that time, the entire country went into

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