Lives of Saints - St. Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland Christianity - Books
If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don't have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.                If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don't have love, I am nothing.                If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don't have love, it profits me nothing.                Love is patient and is kind; love doesn't envy. Love doesn't brag, is not proud, doesn't behave itself inappropriately, doesn't seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn't rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with.               
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St. Patrick, the Enlightener of Ireland

St. Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish, was seized from his native Britain by Irish marauders when he was sixteen years old. Though born the son of a deacon and grandson of a priest about 373 AD, it was not until his captivity that he sought out the Lord with his whole heart. In his Confession, the testament he wrote towards the end of his life, he says, "After I came to Ireland - every day I had to tend sheep and many times a day I prayed, the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was so moved that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many at night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountain. And I would rise for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm". After six years of slavery, he was guided by God to make his escape from Ireland, and afterwards struggled in the monastic life at Auxerre in Gaul, under the guidance of the holy Bishop Germanus. Many years later he was ordained Bishop and sent back to Ireland around 432 AD, to convert the Irish to Christ. His arduous labours bore so much fruit that within seven years, three Bishops were sent from Gaul to help him shepherd his flock, "My brethren and sons whom I have baptised in the Lord - so many thousands of people", he says in his Confession. His apostolic work was not accomplished without much "weariness and painfulness", long journeys through difficult country, and many perils; he says his very life was in danger twelve times. When he came to Ireland as its enlightener, it was a pagan country, and when he ended his earthly life around 461 AD, some thirty years later, the Faith of Christ was established in every corner of Ireland.

Dismissal hymn of Saint Patrick. Third Tone
O Holy Hierarch, equal of the Apostles, Saint Patrick, wonderworker and enlightener of Ireland: Intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.

Kontakion of Saint Patrick. Fourth Tone
Be quick to anticipate
The Master revealed you as a skilful fisher of men; and casting forth nets of Gospel preaching, you hauled up the heathen to piety. Those who were the children of idolatrous darkness you rendered sons of day through holy Baptism. O Patrick, intercede for us who honour your memory.


St. Patrick

The great Apostle and Enlightener of Ireland, St. Patrick (387-493 A.D.) was born to a noble Roman family of Gaul or Britain. At the age of 16 he was carried off by Irish marauders and sold as a slave to an Irish chieftain, who put him in charge of his sheep. Six years later, after the prompting of an angel, the saint fled to Gaul where he placed himself under the spiritual direction of St. Germanus of Auxerre. For 18 years he prayed, struggled and studied, and was often granted a vision of Irish children calling out to him: "O holy youth, come back to Erin, and walk once more amongst us."

Celestine I, the Bishop of Rome, commissioned St. Patrick to bring the people of Ireland into Christ's one, true fold. And so, during the summer of 433, he and his companions arrived in Ireland. They were immediately persecuted by the Druids and other pagans, but the saint's meekness and wonderworking, as well as his God-inspired ability to preach the Gospel, resulted in the conversion of many thousands. In particular, St. Patrick contested spiritually with the Arch Druid, Lochru, who, by the power of demons and through many incantations, tried to maintain his power. On one occasion Lochru, like Simon Magus, was able to levitate himself high into the air in a display of sorcery; but the moment St. Patrick knelt in prayer, Lochru fell to his death. This was the beginning of the end of paganism in Ireland. The Orthodox Faith was victorious on that Easter Sunday when the saint explained the doctrine of the Holy Trinity using a shamrock with its single stem and three leaves.

After receiving Holy Anointing, St. Patrick departed to the Lord on March 17, 493. As he lay in public for several days, a heavenly light shone around his body.


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