St. Patrick of Ireland: An Orthodox Saint

It’s that time of year again; when parties give everyone the excuse to pretend to be Irish for a day. But did you know that the Orthodox can celebrate the feast without fear of annoying our Irish neighbors? That’s right, St. Patrick is an Orthodox saint.

St. Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland

St. Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland

The following is reprinted from OrthodoxWiki:

Saint Patrick was born around 390, at Kilpatrick, in Scotland. His parents were part of the Christian minority of Britain; his father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, “the son of Potitus, a priest.”

At the age of 16, Patrick was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. During that time, he prayed frequently and came for the first time to have a true faith in God. At age 22, he had a vision in which God told him to be prepared to leave Ireland. Soon, he escaped, walking 200 miles to a ship and returning to England. In a dream, he saw the people of Ireland calling him, “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.” 

St Patrick was ordained by St. Germanus, bishop of Auxerre.  Around 430 he was ordained a bishop, after which he returned to Ireland. There, he preached the Gospel, reaching tribal chieftains, gaining their permission to teach their subjects also. He is most often recognized for likening the Trinity to a shamrock, illustrating that the shamrock has three parts, and yet is one; in a similar way, the Trinity has three persons, and is still one God. He established an episcopal administration and led a monastic lifestyle, establishing Christianity in Ireland. St. Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 461.

The Troparion of St. Patrick

Holy Bishop Patrick,
Faithful shepherd of Christ’s royal flock,You filled Ireland with the radiance of the Gospel:
The mighty strength of the Trinity!
Now that you stand before the Savior,
Pray that He may preserve us in faith and love!

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