April 11, 2021

10 Things to Know About the Real St. Patrick

Patricks own writings and early accounts of the saints career expose numerous interesting details about the life of this client saint of Ireland

Patricks own works and early accounts of the saints career expose lots of interesting details about the life of this customer saint of Ireland. Here are 10 things you might not know about St. Patrick.

The icon describes one of Patricks famous wonders in which he is said to have actually prayed to banish all snakes from Ireland. As a historian of middle ages Ireland, I can assure you that the genuine St. Patrick, who worked and lived in the fifth century, never saw a snake or wore a shamrock.

On March 17, people around the world will commemorate St. Patricks Day by parading in green hats, sporting images of shamrocks and leprechauns– tiny, grinning, fairy males– pinned to their lapels. Patricks picture will adorn welcoming cards: an aged, bearded bishop in flowing bathrobes, understanding a bishops personnel and glaring at a coil of snakes.

This post about St. Patrick is republished here with authorization from The Conversation. This content is shared here because the subject might interest Snopes readers; it does not, nevertheless, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.

1. Patrick was not Irish

Patrick was born around 450 A.D., simply when Roman troops withdrew from Britain. His daddy was a gentleman and a Christian deacon who owned a little estate in a place called Bannavem Taburniae.

Scholars arent sure where this place was– it was most likely on the west coast around Bristol, near the southern border of modern Wales and England.

2. Patrick was a slave

Irish servant traders sailed the waters off that same coast, and one day they came ashore to capture the teenage Patrick and his next-door neighbors, to offer back in Ireland. Patrick spent six years tending sheep in the west of Ireland.

3. Patrick heard voices

While chasing sheep on the hills, Patrick hoped a hundred times a day, in all kinds of weather. Patrick knew he wasnt hearing sheep.

4. Patrick refused to suck a guys breasts

St. Patrick Catholic Church, Ohio.Nheyob (Own work)., CC BY-SAPatrick made his method to Irelands east coast and sought passage on a ship bound for Britain. The captain, a pagan, didnt like the look of him and required that Patrick “draw his breasts,” a ritual gesture signifying acceptance of the captains authority. Patrick refused– instead he tried to transform the team.

For some factor, the captain still took him aboard.

5. Patrick had visions

One night Patrick dreamed that Satan checked his faith by dropping a huge rock on him. He lay squashed by its weight till dawn broke, when he called out, “Helias! Helias!”– the name of the Greek sun god. The rock disappeared. Patrick took it as a sort of surprise. He later on composed:

” I think that I was helped by Christ the Lord.”

Patrick had other peculiar visions, too. Back home at Bannavem Taburniae, he was checked out by an angel with a message from the Irish: “We ask you, Holy Boy, to come and stroll once again amongst us.” He trained as a bishop and returned to Ireland.

6. Patrick did something unmentionable

Years into his mission, somebody, it appears, informed a dirty trick about Patrick to his fellow bishops. “They raised versus me after thirty years something I had actually already admitted … some things I had done one day– rather, in one hour, when I was young,” he wrote.

Patrick did not tell us what he did– praise idols? Engage in a prohibited sexual practice? Take gifts from converts?

Whatever it was, Patrick retrospectively comprehended his zealous Irish objective to be penance for his younger sins. While he spread out Christianity around Ireland, he was often beaten, put in chains or obtained. “Every day there is the opportunity that I will be killed, or surrounded, or taken into slavery,” he grumbled.

7. Patrick duelled with druids

When one druid dared to blaspheme the Christian God, however, Patrick sent out the druid flying into air– the guy dropped to the ground and broke his skull.

Two centuries after his death, Irish believers wanted more amazing stories of Patricks life than the saints own account.

One legend (composed 700 A.D.) described Patricks contest with native spiritual leaders, the druids. The druids insulted Patrick, attempted to poison him and engaged him in wonderful battles– much like students of Harry Potters Hogwarts– in which they contended to manipulate the weather, destroy each others spiritual books and survive raving fires.

8. Patrick made God promise

We know how that last one worked out. Perhaps God will keep the other two pledges.

Another legend from around the exact same time informs how Patrick fasted for 40 days atop a mountain, weeping, tossing things, and declining to descend until an angel began Gods behalf to grant the saints outrageous needs. These consisted of the following: Patrick would redeem more souls from hell than any other saint; Patrick, rather than God, would judge Irish sinners at the end of time; and the English would never ever rule Ireland.

9. Patrick never ever mentioned a shamrock

St. Patricks Day shamrock.Maiconfz, CC BYNone of the early Patrician stories included the shamrock– or Irish seamróg– which is a word for common clover, a little plant with 3 leaves. Kids in Catholic schools still discover that Patrick utilized a shamrock as a sign of the Christian Trinity when he preached to the heathen Irish.

The shamrock connection was first discussed in print by an English visitor to Ireland in 1684, who wrote that on Saint Patricks feast day, “the vulgar superstitiously use shamroges, 3 leav d grass, which they similarly consume (they state) to cause a sweet breath.” The Englishman also noted that “really few of the zealous are discovered sober during the night.”

10. Patrick did not drive the snakes out of Ireland

St. Patricks Day parade.Ardfern (Own work)., CC BY-SA
Lisa Bitel, Professor of History & & Religion, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Party-goers on March 17 need not fret about ancient historical details. Whatever the reality of Patricks mission, he became one of the 3 patrons of Ireland, in addition to Sts. Brigit and Columba– the latter 2 were born in Ireland.

Most most likely, the miracle was plagiarized from some other saints life and ultimately contributed to Patricks repertoire.

While chasing after sheep on the hills, Patrick hoped a hundred times a day, in all kinds of weather. St. Patrick Catholic Church, Ohio.Nheyob (Own work). One night Patrick dreamed that Satan checked his faith by dropping an enormous rock on him. Whatever it was, Patrick retrospectively comprehended his zealous Irish objective to be penance for his younger sins. Whatever the truth of Patricks mission, he ended up being one of the 3 clients of Ireland, along with Sts.

This short article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Check out the original article.

As for the miraculous snake-charming attributed to Patrick, it might not have actually happened since there were no snakes in pre-modern Ireland. Reptiles never ever made it across the land bridge that prehistorically connected the island to the European continent.

Wishing you “Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaiobh”– Happy Saint Patricks Day.