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ST PATRICK

Paganism can be traced back to Neolithic times and survived until the middle ages when Christianity became powerful enough to erase it from existence.

Saint Patrick - Ireland’s patron saint, was not, as many mistakenly believe, a native Irishman. He was in fact most likely Welsh and until the age of 16 lived among the Roman-British gentry, his father Calphurnius being a Deacon and his grandfather Potitus, a priest.

In his sixteenth year, Patrick was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and was sold as a slave to a chieftain named Milchu in Dalriada, a territory of the present county of Antrim In Ireland. For six years, Patrick worked as a herdsman before escaping and returning to his family home. Patrick’s captivity became a remote preparation for his future apostolate. He acquired a perfect knowledge of the Celtic tongue in which he would one day announce the glad tidings of Redemption. As his master Milchu was a druidical high priest, he became familiar with all the details of Druidism from whose bondage he was destined to liberate the Irish race.

Soon after his escape from captivity, he followed in the family tradition and entered into service in the Church. On becoming a Bishop he returned to Ireland and it is here that he wrote the two texts that helped transform Ireland from a land of pagan illiteracy into one quickly becoming known as a haven of learning, culture and Christianity leading to modern day Catholicism.

The most accurate estimates suggest Patrick practised his faith in what is now modern day Northern Ireland from 428AD onwards until his death on the 17th March 461. This date is now celebrated throughout Ireland and the world as St Patrick’s Day.

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