Was St Patrick A Saint?

Mar 17, 2014 by

Was St Patrick A Saint?

What is a “saint” and was Patrick one of them? After the ascension of Jesus, in the early church, we find over 60 references to the “saints” of the churches, referring to followers of Christ! (1)

These are the living, functioning, members of the Body of Christ – not those who have died and been chosen by a group of church leaders. So, to paraphrase a popular comedian, “If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you just might be a SAINT!”

Today, March 17, 2014, we are celebrating the world-famous “saint” – Patrick of Ireland, who died on this day in 461 A.D. As long as I can remember, I’ve worn green on this day – or if I happened to forget – I’d always point out that my eyes are green – so “no pinching” me!

May Your Troubles Be Less
and Your Blessings Be More
and Nothing but Happiness Come through Your Door
(A typical Irish Blessing – especially for today!)

Was there really a saint, named Patrick of Ireland? Yes! But he is not who most people know him to be! Several things he was not:
1) He was not Irish;
2) He was not Catholic;
3) He did not rid Ireland of snakes;
4) He was not ordained by any church or man;
5) St Patrick’s Day is more of an American Tradition than one of Ireland. It was considered a “minor religious holiday” in Ireland, but Irish immigrants began as early as the American Revolution to hold celebrations of their “patron saint,” in honor of their heritage. (In the 1970s Ireland began to celebrate as USA was doing.) There are – after all – more than 56.7 million Americans – 11.9% of the total population – who reportedly claim Irish ancestry. (2008 Census Report.)

Saul Church , 2013

Inside Saul Church, 2013

Because I have been so blessed to have made several trips to the Emerald Isle, and I’ve been to some of the churches that Patrick established, even sat on his tombstone; I can confirm there really was a man named Patrick, who lived and ministered in Ireland during the early 5th Century. He left a true legacy of his love for Jesus Christ across both of the nations – Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Born in England circa 390 A.D., to an affluent family, Patrick was taken by pirates at the age of 16 and enslaved on what was then a very pagan island, where he was made to tend sheep. “During his six years of captivity, he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer. In a vision, he saw the children of Pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him. With this, he grew increasingly determined to free the Irish from Druidism by converting them to Christianity.” (2)

After six years in slavery, Patrick had a dream of escaping and returning to England, and soon he was reunited with his family in England around 412 A.D. But he never lost sight of his vision to convert Ireland, and he returned preaching, writing, establishing churches and signs, wonders and miracles followed him wherever he traveled. He is credited with founding 700 churches, the first of which is generally considered Saul Church in Northern Ireland, just outside Belfast.

In less than 30-years, this missionary saw the greater part of Ireland came to faith in Christ. There are reports that more than 30 who were resurrected from the dead by Patrick’s ministry:

“For the blind and the lame, the deaf and the dumb, the palsied, the lunatic, the leprous, the epileptic, all who labored under any disease, did he in the Name of the Holy Trinity restore unto the power of their limbs and unto entire health; and in these good deeds was he daily practiced…” (3)

One such report is of the King of Dublina, whose son lay dying of a deadly disease, and then his daughter drowned while bathing in a neighboring river. King Alphimus had heard of Patrick and sent for him, promising that if he who came in the “Name of the Unknown God” could resurrect his children, the whole city would be baptized into Patrick’s faith. He did and the king kept his promise!

By this, Patrick was given a “Key to the Kingdom” – and the physical resurrection of the prince and princess, opened a door for the spiritual resurrection of the whole region from the darkness of paganism and idolatry!

In another instance, Patrick raised a horse from the dead, and the charioteer, was restored to health, after he accused Patrick of killing the horse. “Let no one doubt that the Lord gave to the humble Patrick the gift of raising the dead to life – for the Glory of God – for the salvation of countless souls!” (4)

Patrick’s ministry in Ireland was difficult – he was constantly under threat of death, beaten by thugs, harassed by Irish royalty – but never recognized by an organized religious group, until after his death. His was a single life that made an impact to change a nation – a nation that eventually was responsible for sending out hundreds of “missionaries” to the nations of the world.

Many of his words have been recorded, and certainly some have been attributed to him that were not his own. However, one of his most famous writings is said to be taken from his early morning prayers, and is called The Breastplate of Patrick.” (5) (See the entire prayer at the link below.)

“Saint” Patrick’s Life was an outrageously exciting life, like the men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. In a place where “Christianity” was hated, at a time that he could have been killed for his faith, he knew the call of God in his life, and was given “Keys” that opened Kingdom doors to see a nation converted to Christ!

So, I ask you again, “Was Patrick a saint?” He knew the call of God in his life, and without turning back, stepped into a supernatural life, to complete the assignment he was given! What a challenge! What an opportunity we have been given today!

“Here am I, Lord, send me!” (Isaiah.6:8).
~ Shelia Hart Artt

P.S. – Oh yes! About the snakes. Ireland is an island whose weather and location is not conducive to their survival and so never had snakes. Patrick had nothing to do with that!

(1) Bible gateway – word search for “saint” in New American Standard Bible, from Acts to Revelation.
(2) http://www.biography.com/people/st-patrick (Keep in mind that this is taken from a Catholic point-of-view.)
(3) “The Life and Acts of St. Patrick” translated from the Latin of Jocelin, Monk of Fumes, 12th Century, by Edmund L. Swift, Dublin, 1809.
(4) Ibid.
(5) http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_breastplate_prayer.htm

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