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Dogma: Saint Patrick

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Hagiography of St. Patrick
Patron saint of Ireland

His Birth and Early years

St Patrick was born in the year 415.

He was born in the north of England near the Irish border, his father was a deacon and his mother was a simple farm maiden. From his mother he acquired the traits of humbleness,and from his father he acquired great courage as he witnessed his father's preaching to violent pagans in the then wild lands of the north, in which he converted into the faith.

Despite this, his father was a successful shepherd and managed to do his duty to the church, family, and town in equal measures.

Patrick was proud of his father and wanted to follow his footsteps, but unfortunately a band of slave traders took him away.


At the age of 16 a band of Celtic raiders took him and the people of his town as slaves to work the fields of Ireland. He did this for 6 years, witnessing first hand the atrocities and falsities the people of Ireland were subject to, no greater atrocity than his own slavery.

It was during this time that Patrick became enlightened and thought of some of his greatest ideas and developed his conviction to end the misery of the people.

One day, as he was reading some sermon from his father’s book when a shamrock fell from his cloak and landed on the page. It neatly landed in the middle of 3 words, such that each of its leaves ended at a word. One leaf pointed to the word God, another leaf pointed towards the word Aristotle and the third pointed toward the word Christos.

Looking at this, Patrick took it as a sign and a way to convert the pagans. These pagans worshiped the shamrock as they saw it as a lucky token. Now Patrick had a way to link it to his faith.

Closing the book, he pressed it hard so that the page remained stained with the green colour of the shamrock.
Patrick was to stain all his works that way, with a shamrock surrounded by god, Christos and Aristotle.

Patrick also realized that the shamrock was also a reflection of the lessons of life his father taught him, of devotion to Church, to family and to the community.

Patrick eventually escaped.

One night he dreamed of a boat that was waiting to take him away. While guiding his sheep past a beach the next morning he met an old man with a boat offering passage to Gaul.
Taking nothing but his green (like the shamrock) cloak a white staff he used to help herd the sheep, some seeds of the shamrock, and a shepherd’s bell, Patrick boarded the boat and headed to Gaul.

His time in Gaul

Patrick spent much time at various monasteries. These were frustrating times for Patrick as he was a man of action, preferring to learn from example and listening while working rather than sitting and reading.
While his father had taught him well, the north of England and Ireland were vast distances away from the centres of learning in Rome and Gaul in which Patrick had learned so much. The people had wandered far since the fall of Oanylone, and it was easy for them to fall foul of false suggestions. No descendents of Noam made it to Ireland, meaning the spark of the true faith did not reach the far island.

While in Gaul, Patrick had a vision of a man coming to him. The man was carrying a shamrock, and some Irish whisky. He held a letter, the heading of which read “the voice of the Irish.” After drinking the whisky, Patrick could hear the sounds and voices of the people of Ireland, They were calling to him “come and walk among us Patrick, we have a need of you.”

This prompted Patrick into action, he had books written, all embossed with Shamrocks, that he will use to spread the faith in Ireland. He had a cloak made to look like it was made of shamrocks. This was another idea of his to help him blend in with the pagans. As a Shepherd he wore a green cloak to blend in with the grass, This allowed the sheep to rest peacefully as there were no bright colours to confuse them.

He traveled to Rome and met the Pope Leon. The Holy Father saw that he was genuine in his beliefs and appointed him as missionary to Ireland in 458. Also at that time, he was consecrated as bishop.

Arrival back in Ireland

On his arrival back in Ireland, Patrick started to preach daily about the life of Aristotle and Christos. He told many stories to the people as they rested after their toil in the fields, and most days he assisted the people with their work and told tales to keep their spirits up. As he walked, his shepherd’s bell would ring, like a shepherd tending to the flock of the Lord.

But he did not have much luck converting them. They listened to him and tolerated him as they could see from his cloak, his staff and his bell that he meant no harm.

One day as he was preaching in a typically cold and frozen paddock overlooking the sea, he was set upon by a band of pagans. These pagans bore the symbol of a serpent on their cloaks and shields.
The Serpent Pagans were the largest of the pagan clans in Ireland, They had been established in the past by settlers from the fall of Oanylone who had witnessed the deaths of many of their family and friends to the snakes which were plentiful in the lands on the way to Ireland.
In many nights that came a snake would come and one of the folk would die to the snakebite.
Finally they crossed the sea to Ireland, and found no snakes. Not understanding the link, they started worshiping the serpent as a god.

As the Druids approached, Patrick took out his white staff, raised it at the Druids and started reciting the stories of Christos. At that moment the sun appeared from behind the clouds and shone straight at the druids. Patrick spoke so powerfully and tapped his Staff loudly on the ground in time with his chanting, that many of the Druids were mesmerized. The Beating of the Staff, created so much noise, and aided by the sunshine, a large ice-shelf snapped off, taking many of the druids with them. The rest fled the lands, and those who witnessed started telling the story of the loud noises that kept the snakes away.

After the people had heard of the event, he found it easier to convert them. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to show greater devotion to Aristotle, Christos and God.

Everywhere he planted his staff, an Ash tree would grow, and this would form the basis of the garden for the monastery and church.

The people would listen for his bell and await to hear the truth he spread.

The Snake Venom

During his wanderings in Ireland, Patrick would sometimes come to a stronghold of the pagans. These pagan strongholds, celebrated their beliefs by drinking the most strongest, sharpest, and bitter tasting ale or whisky. The pagans called this drink snake venom. And all who could drink it were accepted into the hierarchy and given high positions.
Many tried to drink it, but most spat it out, with their eyes watering and their noses running, much like the effects of the bite from the snake.

Patrick would approach these strongholds and challenged the local leader of the snake pagans to a drinking contest. The person who could drink the most snake venom would be the winner.

And Patrick would then pause, would say a Prayer to Christos, Aristotle and God to bless the drink and proceed to outdrink the pagan. Patrick would still be drinking while the local Pagan leader would be on the floor passed out, and sometimes dead.

Those who watched were amazed, and started believing that by blessing the snake venom as Patrick had done, they too could drink more.

Before leaving, Patrick would then gather up all the "snake venom" and set it on fire, destroying all of it. It is why today the ales and whisky of Ireland are the finest in the world.

It is also why The Irish like to bless their drinks before consuming them.

His Death

Patrick survived all the dueling with the pagans. His Ash Staff and his bell lent him both courage and strength. His cloak of shamrocks helped the people see that he was just like them.
He passed away in the County of Down in 17 march 493. The town was later renamed Downpatrick in his honour.

While unfortunately his cloak of shamrocks has long disappeared, some relics remain

The Ash Staff remains at his burial Site in Downpatrick
The Bell remains in Killkenny where he had his vision of the boat.

There are 2 texts that survived.

One tells the tales of the battles with the Snake Pagan Worshipers.

Another tells tales of the establishment of the churches and the importance of Christos.

Famous sayings

For each petal on the shamrock.
This brings a wish your way
Christos, Aristotle, and God
For today and every day.


Don't follow the snake
For it is fake,
Follow Christos,
For he has kissed us.

Patronage: Shepherds, Preachers, Brewers, Ireland
Feast Day: March 17

Translated from the ancient languages into English by His Eminence Teagan

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