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Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick (c. 387 – 17 March, 493 or c 460) was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland.

 

Two authentic letters from him survive, from which come the only universally accepted details of his life. When he was about 16, he was captured from Wales by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the Church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

 

Saint Patrick's Day is observed on March 17, the date of Patrick's death.[9] It is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation and outside of Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself.

 

Pious legend credits St. Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, chasing them into the sea after they assailed him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill,. This hagiographic theme draws on the mythography of the staff of Moses, messenger of Yahweh to gentile Egyptians. In Exodus 7:8–7:13 , Moses and Aaron use their staffs in their struggle with Pharaoh's sorcerers, the staffs of each side morphing into snakes. Aaron's snake-staff prevails.

 

However, all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes, as on insular "Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, and Antarctica...So far, no serpent has successfully migrated across the open ocean to a new terrestrial home" such as from Scotland on the mainland of the neighboring island of Britain, where a few native species have lived, "the venomous adder, the grass snake, and the smooth snake," as National Geographic notes, and although sea snake species separately exist. "At no time has there ever been any suggestion of snakes in Ireland, so [there was] nothing for St. Patrick to banish," says naturalist Nigel Monaghan, keeper of natural history at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, who has searched extensively through Irish fossil collections and records.[60] The List of reptiles of Ireland has only one land reptile species native to Ireland, the viviparous or common lizard.

 

One suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids during that time and place, as exampled on coins minted in Gaul. Chris Weigant connects "Big tattoos of snakes" on Druids' arms as "Irish schoolchildren are taught" with the way in which, in the legend of St. Patrick banishishing snakes, the "story goes to the core of Patrick's sainthood and his core mission in Ireland."

 

Legend also credits St. Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of 'three divine persons in the one God.' For this reason, shamrocks have definitely become a central symbol for St Patrick’s Day.

 

Nevertheless, the shamrock was also seen as sacred in the pre-Christian days in Ireland. Due to its green color and overall shape, many viewed it as representing rebirth and eternal life. Three was a sacred number in the pagan religion and there were a number of "Triple Goddesses" in ancient Ireland, including Brigid, Ériu, and the Morrigan.

 

Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center is located in the heart of Greater Cincinnati and sits on 13.1 acres of landscaped property in a residential area of Norwood, Ohio. This structure, originally built in 1920 under the direction of Archbishop Henry Moeller as a major seminary, has now become a Marian center.

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Taken on December 12, 2011