Who was St Patrick?

St Patrick
St Patrick

One of the most recognized saints of God is the patron Patrick of Ireland. People from different parts of the world observe the festival of St. Patrick’s Day. Catholics and Protestants alike find a common ground in that day dedicated to a man named Patrick of Ireland. The Catholic Church made him a Catholic Saint, but was Patrick really Catholic? Most people do not know where this mysterious, remarkable man came  from! You will be amazed at what  history reveals! Let us do a background check on Patrick’s life. First of all, Patrick was born in about 360 A.D. (SEE – Smith & Wace, A Dictionary of Christian Biography. art. “Patricius”.) His original name was Succat but later became Patrick. “Succat, afterwards known as St Patrick…” J.H. Merle d’Aubignè, The Reformation in England, p. 28. He was the son of Calpurnius, a deacon in the early Celtic church. He was born in a town in the southern part of Scotland, and at the age of fifteen, he was taken captive and brought to Ireland by freebooters or pirates. Here is Patrick’s own testimony:

“I, Patrick, a sinner, the rudest and least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to great numbers, had Calpurnius for my father, a deacon, son of the late Potitus, the presbyter, who dwelt in the village of Banavan, Tiberiae, for he had a small farm at hand with the place where I was captured. I was then almost sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; and was taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men in accordance with our deserts, because we walked at a distance from God and did not observe His commandments.” William Betham, Irish Antiquarian Researches. Vol. 1, p. 270.

So far, we have found out that Patrick was not born in Ireland but in Bonnaven in southern Scotland. He was the son of Calpurnius, a deacon in the Celtic Church. He was taken captive by a ruffian band at the age of fifteen and brought to Ireland.

After six years of captivity, Patrick escaped and made it back to his home town in southern Scotland. During his captivity, Patrick gave his heart to the Lord! “Here, in slavery, he gave his heart to God and, after six years of servitude, escaped, returning to his home in Scotland.” Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith. p. 134. Also, about ten years later, Patrick returned to Ireland because of his remembrance of the poor heathens who  Ireland did such a marvellous work in evangelizing Ireland that another historian comments on his success in his evangelistic efforts. “Saint Patrick in his day founded there 365 churches.” Dr. E. Pagit, Christianography. Part 2, p. 10.

What type of churches were they? Were they Catholic churches? Let’s have history bear record of the facts! “There is strong evidence that Patrick had no Roman communion in Ireland. As Patrick’s churches in Ireland, like their brethren in Britain, repudiated the supremacy of the popes, all knowledge of the conversion of Ireland through his ministry must be suppressed by Rome, at all costs.” William Cathcart, The Ancient and British Churches p. 85.

St Patrick's Saul (Barn)
St Patrick’s Saul (Barn)

Even the popes, who lived as Patrick’s contemporaries, NEVER mention or even rejoiced over his great evangelistic efforts in Ireland. “There is not a written word from one of them rejoicing over Patrick’s additions to their church, showing clearly that he was not a Roman missionary… So completely buried was Patrick and his work by popes and other Roman Catholics, that in their epistles and larger publications, his name does not once occur in one of them until A.D. 634.” Ibid. P. 83. Isn’t that amazing! Patrick and his great work was not mentioned by Papal historians and prelates until about 244 years later! “Prosper does not notice Patrick… He says nothing of the greatest success ever given to a missionary of Christ, apparently because he was not a Romanist.” Ibid, p. 84. Also, Patrick never mentions Rome or the pope in his writings. “He (Patrick) never mentions either Rome or the pope or hints that he was in any way connected with the ecclesiastical capital of Italy. He mentions no other authority but that of the word of God.” Dr. Killen,

St Patrick's Saul (Barn)
St Patrick’s Saul (Barn) Entrance

Ecclesiastical History of Ireland. Vol 1, p. 12. Eventually, years later, the Roman pontiff did send a papal emissary to the Celtic church, but the papal legate was turned away! This proves that Patrick was of that pure Celtic Church of Christ. The historian, Bede, wrote of the papal emissary, Palladius, that was sent by the Roman pontiff in the year 431: “Palladius was sent by Clestinus, the Roman pontiff, to the Scots |Irish| that believed in Christ.” Bede, Ecclesiastical History, p. 22. London: 1894. The historian, Cathcart, reveals that this papal representative was turned away. “He left because he did not receive respect in Ireland.” William Cathcart, The Ancient British and Irish Churches, p. 72

“Centuries were to pass before the papacy discovered that his (Patrick’s) merits were too firmly established to be overlooked. It (the Catholic Church) labored to gather Patrick into his fold by inventing all kinds of history and fables to make him a papal here.” Elder Benjamin Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant, p. 93

St Patrick's Slieve
St Patrick’s Slieve (Statue – with head Protestant and body Catholic)

There is another fact that proves that Patrick was not Roman Catholic. He worshiped on a different day than what the Roman Catholics worship on! Historically, the Celtic church observed the seventh day of the week in accordance with Holy Writ. A Professor of Church History at Princeton wrote, “It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week.” Professor James C. Moffat, The Church in Scotland. p. 140. Another historian wrote, “We seem to see here an allusion to the custom, observed in the early monastic Church of Ireland, of keeping the day of rest on Saturday, or the Sabbath.” Blair’s, History of the Church in Scotland. Vol. 1, p. 86. (This quote is found in a footnote of Blair’s translation of the Catholic historian, Bellesheim). The Catholic historian. Bellesheim, also states the sentiments of Queen Margaret, for he wrote, “The queen further protested against the prevailing abuse of Sunday desecration. ‘Let us’ she said, Venerate the Lord’s day, inasmuch as upon it our Saviour rose from the dead: let us do not servile work on that day’… The Scots in this matter had no doubt kept up the traditional practice of the ancient monastic Church of Ireland, which observed Saturday rather than Sunday as a day of rest” Bellesheim, History of the Catholic Church of Scotland, Vol. 1, pp. 249, 250. William Skene wrote, “Her next point was that they did not duly reverence the Lord’s day, but in this latter instance they seem to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic Church of Ireland, by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labours.” William F. Skene, Celtic Scotland. Vol. n, p. 349. (1877).

The great missionary student of Patrick’s schools in Ireland was a man by the name of Columba, “the son of Feidlimyd, the Son of Fergus.” J. H. Merle d’Aubignè, The Reformation in England. Vol. 1, p. 30. He was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 521 A.D., and was sent to Scotland as a missionary. “‘I will go,’said he, ‘and preach the word of God in Scotland.’”Ibid, p. 30. He also kept the Bible Sabbath or Saturday which God commands in His decalogue. His last moments are recorded in history. “Having continued his labors in Scotland thirty-four years, he clearly and openly foretold his death, and on Saturday, the ninth of June, said to his disciple Diermit: ‘This day is called the Sabbath, that is, the day of rest, and such will it truly be to me; for it will put an end to my labors.'” Butler, Lives of the Saints. Vol. 6, p. 139.

History is very clear on the origin of Patrick and the day that he kept as the Sabbath, but let us go to the Holy Scriptures and find out WHY Patrick and the early Celtic Church kept the seventh day or Saturday as God’s holy rest! “It was the Sabbath among the Briton Christians 596-664, and then was still so with those who withdrew to the Isle of Iona and to Ireland rather than to submit to the laws commanding and enforcing Sunday observance.” Alonzo T. Jones, Lessons From the Reformation. p. 360. Detailed history reveals that, “In A.D. 664, Oswald, king of Northumberland, ordered Sunday observance. And the Sabbath keepers, ‘rather than to submit to it,’ withdrew to the Isle of Iona and to Ireland.” Ibid., p. 319. The Celtic Church fled from Sunday observance!

Let’s go back to the beginning of time to the end of the first week. In the book of Genesis, chapter I, God created the heavens and the earth and all that it contains in six days, and on the SEVENTH DAY, God and man kept their first SABBATH together. There was no taint of sin or decay, for all was perfect and pure! “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. (2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which be had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3. There were two things that God did on the SEVENTH DAY, 1) He rested; 2) He blessed the SEVENTH DAY and sanctified it, which means to make it HOLY. Now, this is what God did to the SEVENTH DAY!

In Exodus 20:8-11, God repeats what He did at the first week of time. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. (9) Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy work: (10) But the SEVENTH DAY is the SABBATH of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and RESTED THE SEVENTH DAY: wherefore the LORD BLESSED the SABBATH DAY and HALLOWED it” Exodus 20:8-11. After the Israelites came out of Egyptian bondage, when God reiterated the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai to Moses, He reminded the people of what He did at the very beginning of time. God placed this Sabbath commandment right in the heart of His 10 commandments.

Sabbath the Seventh Day
Sabbath the Seventh Day

Why did God desire for this particular law to be kept by his people? God explains why in verse 13 of the same chapter. “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: FOR IT IS A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND YOU throughout your generations: THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THAT DOTH SANCTIFY YOU.” Exodus 31:13. This is why Patrick and the Celtic Church had such strong convictions of observing this command of God! The Sabbath is a SIGN or a distinctive MARK that identifies GOD as our Creator and Redeemer. It is a day that reminds us that it is Jehovah that sanctifies us or makes us holy. It pin points us as HIS holy and peculiar children! What did Jesus say about the Sabbath? “Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:28 The seventh day is also known, in the Bible, as the Lord’s day. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.” Revelation 1:10. Remember, Jesus said that He is the LORD of the Sabbath, so this is the Lord’s day of Holy Writ! If you do not observe the seventh day of the week, then you are taking away God’s identity and sovereignty as the ONE and ONLY true God, Creator, Helper, and Sustainer.

The Apostle Paul expounds on the SEVENTH DAY or the Sabbath, and he carries the mind all the way back to that first week of creation. Read carefully! “For he spake in a certain place of the SEVENTH DAY on this wise. And God did rest the SEVENTH DAY from all his works… (9) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (10) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (11) Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:4, 9-11. Paul recognized the validity and obligation of the Bible Sabbath. What day did the New Testament Church observe as the Sabbath? “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next SABBATH… (44) and the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” Acts 13:42, 44. When Paul was in the city of Corinth, he preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath day and spoke to the Jews and Greeks. “And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:4. Remember, the Gentiles generally observed Sunday as a day of worship to their pagan deity.

When and where did Sunday worship come into the Christian Church? By whose authority was it established as a Christian doctrine? Remember, Patrick and the early Celtic Church recognized the One and only true God that set up the SEVENTH DAY as a memorial that establishes Him as our God and Creator, so who was the perpetrator of Sunday worship? Jesus said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. (18) For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled, (If) Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19. Some believe it doesn’t matter what day you keep! Did it matter to Adam and Eve which tree they ate fruit off of? Look around! You can see the  results of that so-called insignificant piece of fruit! The issue comes down to this: who are you going to OBEY? God or man? Patrick and the early Celtic Church obeyed God and observed His choice day of rest!

 St Patrick's Confessio
St Patrick’s Confessio

Here are some historical statements regarding the change of the Sabbath from Saturday, God’s appointed rest day, to Sunday, man’s institution. “She (the Catholic Church) took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday… And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder (a pagan god) became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Christ.” Catholic World. March, 1894. “…It was the Catholic Church that authorized and sanctioned the change in the Lord’s day from the seventh day of the week to the first. She did it very early in her life.” C.F. Thomas, Chancellor to Cardinal Gibbons, Letter. Oct 8,1901. The Bible says, ‘Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.’ The Catholic Church says, No! By my divine power I abolished the Sabbath day, and command you to keep the first day of the week. And lo, the entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church!” Father Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, MO as taken from History of the Sabbath. p. 802. “Sunday is our MARK of authority… The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact” The Catholic Record.. London, Ontario, Canada, Sept 1, 1923. “The observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay in spite of themselves to the authority of the Catholic Church.” Talk About the Protestantism of Today, p. 213.

My friend, I beg you to seek for the fidelity and integrity of Patrick and the early Celtic Church, for they followed the Bible admonition which states, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.n Matthew 4:4. The Seventh day Sabbath recognizes the God of heaven as your Lord and King, and it is His MARK or SEAL of authority, while Sunday is the MARK of man’s authority and rulership. Friend, whose word are you going to take and follow? God’s infallible word or man’s fallible proud boasts. Jeremiah wrote, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD… (7) Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Jeremiah 17:5,7. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve! The faith of Patrick, the man of God, or the presumptions of man and the MARK of their authority!? May you choose the Infinite GOD and His Sabbath!

The True St Patrick’s Day – An Excerpt from The Seventh Day Series, presented by Hal Holbrook

Resources:

The following links are pamphlets that Righteousness is Love Ministries have developed for distribution during St Patrick’s day (17th of March) or before. Fill free to download, edit and print for yourself;

St Patrick’s Pamphlet JPEG

St Patrick’s Pamphlet PDF

St Patrick’s Pamphlet PSD

ST_Patrick_Page 1ST_Patrick_Page 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following are beautiful letters that were most likely written by Saint Patrick himself and are the oldest known documents describing Ireland, around 460 AD. Sourced from www.confessio.ie.

St Patrick’s Confessio

Download (PDF, 144KB)

Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus

Download (PDF, 111KB)