Who was Saint Patrick and what is St. Patrick's Day?

Who was Saint Patrick and what is St. Patrick's Day?

Maewyn Succat is the real name of the man who the Catholic Church eventually declared to be Saint Patrick.  He was born in 387 A.D. in Kilpatrick, Scotland and died in 461 A.D.  He is known for his Christian missionary work in Ireland where he preached for 30 years.  It is said that over 135,000 people were converted due to his teaching and 300 churches established throughout the country.  


He didn’t appear to be born to greatness.  When he was 16 years old he was captured by Catholic invaders and became a slave in Ireland.  During his time in slavery, he learned about the non-Christian culture and customs of Celtic Ireland.  Later in life he returned and converted many of these Celts to the Catholic faith.  


He felt called by God because of a vivid dream in which God said “Your ship is ready.” St. Patrick jumped a ship bound for Britian where he received another message from God in a dream.  This time in his dream he received a letter which was the “voice of the Irish”.  Inside the letter he heard the people of Ireland asking him to return to teach them the Catholic faith.


Saint Patrick then studied to become an ordained Catholic bishop.  Later he returned to Ireland to begin his missionary work.  His preaching was met with great success.  Knowing the Celltic culture, he adapted symbols of Ireland to teach Christian doctrines, most notably the shamrock, a three-leaved clover, to represent the trinity.  It is also said that Saint Patrick introduced alcohol to Ireland which still affects the culture of Ireland today.  


Saint Patrick’s Day Observed


Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461.  March 17 is a national holiday in Ireland to commemorate their greatest Catholic missionary of all time.  With a significant Irish immigrant population, the United States celebrates the day, but not to the extent of making it a national holiday.  People wear green, claim to be Irish for at least one day of the year, drink green beer and in Chicago, dye the Chicago River green.  


While the Bible doesn’t mention a special class of people as saints (all believers are referred to as the saints - see note below), Maewyn Succat was an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to teaching the tenants of the Christian faith to another culture.  The main known as Saint Patrick made Ireland into one of the most ardent supporters of the Catholic Church anywhere on the planet.



The Bible refers to all believers as saints.  See the following list of saints mentioned in the Acts and the Epistles...

(Acts 9:13)  But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem.

(Acts 9:32)  Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.

(Acts 9:41)  And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

(Acts 26:10)  And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them.

(Romans 1:7)  To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 8:27)  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

(Romans 12:13)  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

(Romans 15:25)  At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints.

(Romans 15:26)  For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.

(Romans 15:31)  that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,

(Romans 16:2)  that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

(Romans 16:15)  Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

(1 Corinthians 1:2)  To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

(1 Corinthians 6:1)  When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

(1 Corinthians 6:2)  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

(1 Corinthians 14:33)  For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,

(1 Corinthians 16:1)  Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.

(1 Corinthians 16:15)  Now I urge you, brothers--you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints--

(2 Corinthians 1:1)  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

(2 Corinthians 8:4)  begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints--

(2 Corinthians 9:1)  Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints,

(2 Corinthians 9:12)  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.

(2 Corinthians 13:13)  All the saints greet you.

(Ephesians 1:1)  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

(Ephesians 1:15)  For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,

(Ephesians 1:18)  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

(Ephesians 2:19)  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

(Ephesians 3:8)  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

(Ephesians 3:18)  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

(Ephesians 4:12)  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

(Ephesians 5:3)  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

(Ephesians 6:18)  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

(Philippians 1:1)  Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

(Philippians 4:22)  All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household.

(Colossians 1:2)  To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

(Colossians 1:4)  since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,

(Colossians 1:12)  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

(Colossians 1:26)  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

(1 Thessalonians 3:13)  so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

(2 Thessalonians 1:10)  when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

(1 Timothy 5:10)  and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

(Philemon 1:5)  because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints,

(Philemon 1:7)  For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

(Hebrews 6:10)  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

(Hebrews 13:24)  Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings.

(Jude 1:3)  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.