Today is the feast of Saint Patrick, today we celebrate his sainthood, and the ascendance to heaven of a British man, of Roman heritage, who lived sometime between the fourth and fifth centuries CE.
Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland, but he was not Irish at all, he was a Roman of the Patrician class, from a family of rank, and privilege.
Patrick (Patricius) is credited with converting the people of Erin to faith in the Universal Church, the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, in so doing he separated the Celtic people from their Gaelic traditions, and subordinated them to the Catholic Church in Rome.
It is no wonder that he was named a saint for this, Patricius.
He won with the Word what could not be accomplished by through war, by sword and spear, by fire and blood.
It should be noted that Saint Patrick has never been canonized, or even beatified not by any Pope. Therefore Patrick is not officially a Saint of the Catholic Church, and nevertheless, he is recognized in the annals of the Saints of the Church of England, I hope that all my Irish kinfolk appreciate the irony of this.
It is worthy of song.
History tells us that Patrick was a humble man, a rare quality for those of rank. History also tells us that he proofed the plan of spreading the faith by converting Irish chieftains first. Patrick was a politician of great skill. Every missionary who followed him, emulated this method.
He spread the faith, he established churches and he earned the rank of Apostle, by popular acclamation.
History tells us that his mother was a relative of Saint Martin of Tours, the patron Saint of Soldiers, Saint Martin of the Sword whose biography was written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, but we know that was a work of pure fiction. Saint Martin never lived, even so, his story gave license for Christians to become soldiers, to serve in the army, and as such it brought the Roman legions into the fold.
Patrick was said to have had “heroic piety,” praying day and night, in the mountains and the woods, he prayed through the rain, and through storms of snow and ice, he should be the patron saint of post men if this were true, but then again…all hagiographies are lies.
His story tells us that he spent six years as a captive and servant to a Celtic Chieftain, the Druid named Milchu in Dalriada, where he mastered the language of the common folk and learned all of their stories.
However, if you appreciate history you will know that it is much more likely that he fled his home to wander abroad in order to escape the duties that were expected of him as the son of a nobleman. Such departures were common in his time, they were referred to as the “flight of the curiales.” Patrick was no captive at all, he was a boy running from his responsibilities.
Rather than being taken captive it is more likely that he paid for asylum in Milchu’s house, and that he paid for the services of tutors to help him learn the language.
The Druids were great teachers and oral historians that much is true.
The story of his escape (if it was in fact an escape from servitude), and subsequent journey were of his own account. He cast the entire experience in dramatic, even biblical terms, they served both to cover up his crime of abnegation, and also to establish his fame.
It is said that Patrick escaped from Milchu and then fled to the mainland of Europe where he entered the priesthood and became a missionary. On his return to Ireland however, the first place he went was to his former home in Dalriada. Where, after some period of conflict with his former captor (or patron) and the affectation of some miracles on Patrick’s part, Milchu immolated himself to make way for the upstart, throwing himself on a fire after burning the collected scrolls and mysteries of his people.
This event may be seen in metaphorical terms as Milchu offering himself as a human sacrifice, at the foundation of the church in Ireland.
That’s how Patrick wrote it.
In reality. the whole episode denotes the ritual destruction of the Celtic people in favor of the ascending Romano-British invaders.
On Easter Sunday, 433 a conflict of will ensued between Patrick and the Celtic Arch-Druid Lochru, historians mythologized it as a battle of divine forces like the contest between Moses and the Egyptians, or Elijah and priests of Baal, and it ended with Saint Patrick magically hurling Lochru into the air, and breaking him to pieces on a sharp rock.
It was another ritual murder at the foundation of the Irish Church, another human sacrifice to be sure. There is no other way to read this, it was a good old-fashioned Roman slaughter.
On a side note, while speaking of his vaunted magic powers, not to be outdone by Jesus, this same Patrick was said to have been able to raise the dead.
It should be noted the Columbanus, who was the most significant representative of the Irish Catholic Church after the Dark Ages, who lived and wrote and sent missionaries from Ireland to Continental Europe, building Churches and founding religious communities, makes no mention of Saint Patrick in his writing, not once, not anywhere, Columbanus tells us that the Church in Ireland was founded by a man named Palladius.
The entire legend of Saint Patrick is little more than a myth designed to subordinate the Irish heart to a British noble of Roman descent, and a fictitious one at that.
Be mindful when you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!
Given First 2018.03.17