Patrick, Rome’s Saint or Jesus’ Testimony?

Posted Mar 16, 2012 by Frank Klin in General Hits: 3,126

On March 17, 2012 a friend hosted a fellowship dinner after church.  Because March 17th is often observed as St. Patrick’s Day, was asked to share something about Patrick. I knew a little from reading “Truth Triumphant, the Church in the Wilderness” by B.G. Wilkinson.  My friend Philip recommend “The Celtic Church in Britain” by Leslie Hardinge.” Both these sources make up the majority of this presentation.  Was also blessed with the article “Should You Wear Green on St. Patrick's Day?” by B. Thiel.  Encyclopedia excerpts and some text were taken from that article.

Some see this day of wearing the green, drunkenness, revelry, pinching, corned beef and cabbage, etc. as a Catholic holiday, while others mainly an Irish holiday. It became a feast day in the Catholic church due to the influence of Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early part of the 17th century.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. This stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day. (Saint Patrick's Day, wikipedia).

Aside from its non-biblical origins, what can we learn about the man behind the day? Can Rome really claim him as one of their own or does he belong to another?

Patrick was born in Scotland around 387. When he was sixteen, he was carried off into captivity by Irish marauders and sold as a slave to a chieftan in Ireland, where for six years he tended his master's flocks.

From there some sources tell us:

“PATRICK...SAINT is the patron of Ireland and a saint of the Roman Catholic Church...he came to be known as one who "found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian. Saint Patrick founded over 300 churches...Many relics of this saint were held sacred for a thousand years, but some of them were destroyed by the Reformers.” (Patrick. World Book Encyclopedia, 50th Anniversary Edition, Volume 15. Chicago, 1966 p. 174)

Thus, St. Patrick's Day is in honor of one who is claimed to have turned Ireland Roman Catholic.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports some additional details about Patrick:

Pope St. Celestine I, who rendered immortal service to the Church by the overthrow of the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies…crowned his pontificate by an act of the most far-reaching consequences for the spread of Christianity and civilization, when he entrusted St. Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into the one fold...

"…St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe…

When not engaged in the work of the sacred ministry, his whole time was spent in prayer. Many times in the day he armed himself with the sign of the Cross. He never relaxed his penitential exercises. Clothed in a rough hair-shirt, he made the hard rock his bed. His disinterestedness is specially commemorated. Countless converts of high rank would cast their precious ornaments at his feet, but all were restored to them. He had not come to Erin in search of material wealth, but to enrich her with the priceless treasures of the Catholic Faith.

[During a mountaintop experience] the saint…would…wrestle with God Himself, like Jacob of old, to secure the spiritual interests of his people. [His guardian] angel had announced to him that, to reward his fidelity in prayer and penance, as many of his people would be gathered into heaven as would cover the land and sea as far as his vision could reach. Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would not suffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax his penance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:

  • many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession
  • whoever in the spirit of penance would recite his hymn before death would attain the heavenly reward;
  • barbarian hordes would never obtain sway in his Church;
  • seven years before the Judgement Day, the sea would spread over Ireland to save its people from the temptations and terrors of the Antichrist; and
  • greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.,

Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasing prayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penitential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized. (Cardinal Moran, Patrick Francis. Transcribed by Mary Doorley. St. Patrick. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York)

Who was the “real” Patrick?

The heroic figure of Patrick, taken captive as a boy into slavery, stands out as a creator of civilization. He was not only an architect of European society and the father of Irish Christianity, but he raised up a standard against spiritual wolves entering the fold in sheep's clothing. So much legend and fiction has been written about him that one is almost led to believe that there were two individuals - the real Patrick and the fictitious Patrick. The statement may come as a surprise to many, yet it is a fact that the actual Patrick belonged to the Church in the Wilderness. He should not be placed where certain historians seem determined to assign him. The facts presented [here]…will no doubt be a revelation to many, who, misled by wrong representations, have not realized of what church Patrick was a child and an apostle…[H]e was of that early church which was brought to Ireland from Syria. He was in no way connected with the type of Christianity which developed in Italy and which was ever at war with the church organized by Patrick. [1]

Fortunately, two of Patrick's writings, his Confession and the Letter against Coroticus, a nearby British king, survive and may be found readily. In the Letter Patrick tells how he surrendered his high privileges to become a slave for Christ. Of his faith and his dedication to God, he says: I was a free man according to the flesh. I was born of a father who was a decurion. For I sold my nobility for the good of others, and I do not blush or grieve about it. Finally, I am a servant in Christ delivered to a foreign nation on account of the unspeakable glory of an everlasting life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [1]

Patrick, like his Master of Galilee, was to learn obedience through suffering. A great task awaited him. The apostolic church had won a comparatively easy victory in her struggle with a pagan world for three centuries. But an almost impossible task awaited her when a compromising Christianity, enforcing its doctrines at the point of the sword, had become the state religion of the Roman Empire. It was an hour when a new line of leaders was needed. As the struggle of free churches to live their lives without the domination of a state clergy began, God was training Patrick. [1]

Shortly before Patrick's time the empire at Constantinople had been under the rule of Constantius II, who recoiled from accepting the extreme views on the Godhead, which had won the vote under his father, Constantine the Great, in the first Council of Nicaea. [S]imilar opposition to those extreme views prevailed all over Europe. Patrick's belief was that of the opposition. [1]

At the age of sixteen, Patrick was carried captive to Ireland by freebooters…Of this he writes in this Confession:

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, Tiberniae, 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. [1]

[At the age of 22 Patrick escaped from his slave master]. What Patrick did between the time of his escape from slavery…and his return [to Ireland] as a missionary to that land is not known. Every effort has been made by pro-papal writers to place him, in this interval, at Rome. On one such fictitious visit it is said that Patrick with the help of an angel performed the questionable feat of stealing many relics from the pope among which was supposed to have been the bloodstained towel of our Saviour and some hair from the Virgin Mary. One writer exclaims: “ ‘0 wondrous deed! 0 rare theft of a vast treasure of holy things, committed without sacrilege, the plunder of the most holy place in the world!’” (Stokes, Ireland and the Celtic Church, page 93) [1]

The words of Patrick himself reveal his unrest of soul after his escape from slavery until he submitted to the call of God to proclaim the news of salvation to the Irish. He had continually heard voices from the woods of Hibernia, begging him, as did the man in the night vision of Paul, “Come over.... and help us.” Neither the tears of his parents nor the reasonings of his friends could restrain him. He determined, whatever the cost, to turn his back upon the allurements of home and friends and to give his life for the Emerald Isle. [1]

Patrick preached the Bible. He appealed to it as the sole authority for founding the Irish Church. He gave credit to no other worldly authority; he recited no creed. Several official creeds of the church at Rome had by that time been ratified and commanded, but Patrick mentions none. In his Confession he makes a brief statement of his beliefs, but he does not refer to any church council or creed as authority. The training centers he founded, which later grew into colleges and large universities, were all Bible schools. Famous students of these schools - Columba, who brought Scotland to Christ, Aidan, who won pagan England to the gospel, and Columbanus with his successors, who brought Christianity to Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy - took the Bible as their only authority, and founded renowned Bible training centers for the Christian believers. [1]

Patrick, like his example, Jesus, put the words of Scripture above the teachings of men. He differed from the papacy, which puts church tradition above the Bible. In his writings he nowhere appeals to the church at Rome for the authorization of his mission. Whenever he speaks in defense of his mission, he refers to God alone, and declares that he received his call direct from heaven. [1]

Patrick believed that Christianity should be founded with the home and the family as its strength. Too often the Christian organizations of that age were centered in celibacy. This was not true of the Irish Church and its Celtic daughters in Great Britain, Scotland, and on the Continent. The Celtic Church, as organized and developed under Patrick, permitted its clergy to marry. [1]

The absence of celibacy in the Celtic Church gives added proof to the fact that the believers had no connection with the church at Rome. Thus Dr. J. H. Todd writes: “He [Patrick] says nothing of Rome, or of having been commissioned by Pope Celestine. He attributed his Irish apostleship altogether to an inward call, which he regarded as a divine command.” [1]

One of the strongest proofs that Patrick did not belong to papal Christianity is found in the historical fact that for centuries Rome made every effort to destroy the church Patrick had founded. Jules Michelet writes of Boniface, who was the pope's apostle to the Germans about two hundred years after Patrick: “His chief hatred is to the Scots [the name equally given to the Scotch and Irish], and he especially condemns their allowing priests to marry.” [1]

Patrick sought two goals in his effort to make truth triumphant. First, he sought the conversion of those among whom he had been a slave, and, secondly, he longed to capture Tara, the central capital of Ireland, for Christ. Therefore he proceeded immediately to County Antrim in the northwest, where he had endured slavery. While he failed to win his former slave master, he was successful in converting the master's household. This threw open a door to further missionary labors not only to this region but also across the adjacent waters into nearby Scotland. [1]

He did not enter the capital because he felt that God's work needed the help of the state. Patrick rejected the union of church and state. More than one hundred years had passed since the first world council at Nicaea had united the church with the empire. Patrick rejected this model. He followed the lesson taught in John's Gospel when Christ refused to be made a king. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Not only the Irish apostle but his famous successors, Columba in Scotland, and Columbanus on the Continent, ignored the supremacy of the papal pontiff. They never would have agreed to making the pope a king. Although the Roman Empire after the fourth century had favored that supremacy, there was still great discontent throughout Europe against this encroachment of civil power into the church. [1]

Many miracles have been ascribed to Patrick by the traditional stories which grew up. Two or three will suffice to show the difference between the miraculous hero of the fanatical fiction and the real Patrick. The Celtic Patrick reached Ireland in an ordinary way. The fictitious Patrick, in order to provide passage for a leper when there was no place on the boat, threw his portable stone altar into the sea. The stone did not go to the bottom, nor was it outdistanced by the boat, but it floated around the boat with the leper on it until it reached Ireland. [1]

In order to connect this great man with the papal see, it was related: “Sleep came over the inhabitants of Rome, so that Patrick brought away as much as he wanted of the relics. Afterward those relics were taken to Armagh by the counsel of God and the counsel of the men of Ireland. What was brought then was three hundred and threescore and five relics, together with the relics of Paul and Peter and Lawrence and Stephen, and many others. And a sheet was there with Christ's blood [thereon] and with the hair of Mary the Virgin.” [1]

But Dr. Killen refutes this story by declaring:

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 recognizes no other authority but that of the word of God ... When Palladius arrived in the country, it was not to be expected that he would receive a very hearty welcome from the Irish apostle. If he was sent by [Pope] Celestine to the native Christians to be their primate or archbishop, no wonder that stouthearted Patrick refused to bow his neck to any such yoke of bondage.” [1]

About two hundred years after Patrick, papal authors began to tell of a certain Palladius, who was sent in 430 by this same Pope Celestine as a bishop to the Irish. They all admit, however, that he stayed only a short time in Ireland and was compelled to withdraw because of the disrespect which was shown him. [1]

One more of the many legendary miracles which sprang from the credulity and tradition of Rome is here repeated. “He went to Rome to have [ecclesiastical] orders given him…And when the orders were a reading out, the three choirs mutually responded, namely, the choir of the household of heaven, and the choir of the Romans, and the choir of the children from the wood of Fochlad. This is what all sang: ‘All we Irish beseech thee, holy Patrick, to come and walk among us and to free us.’” [1]

The growing coldness between the Celtic and the Roman Churches…did not originate in a hostile attitude of mind in the Celtic clergy. It arose because they considered that the papacy was moving farther and farther away from the apostolic system of the New Testament. No pope ever passed on to the leading bishops of the church the news of the great transformation from heathenism to Christianity wrought by Patrick. This they certainly would have done, as was done in other cases, had he been an agent of the Roman pontiff. [1]

One is struck by the absence of any reference to Patrick in the Ecclesiastical History of England written by that fervent follower of the Vatican, the Englishman Bede, who lived about two hundred years after the death of the apostle to Ireland...Though a great collector of facts, Bede makes no reference whatever to Patrick. The reason apparently is that, when this historian wrote, the papacy had not yet made up its mind to claim Patrick. [1]

Patrick, while manifesting all the graces of an apostolic character, also possessed the sterner virtues. Like Moses, he was one of the humblest of men. He revealed that steadfastness of purpose required to accomplish a great task. His splendid ability to organize and execute his Christian enterprises revealed his successful ability to lead. He was frank and honest. He drew men to him, and he was surrounded by a band of men whose hearts God had touched. Such a leader was needed to revive the flickering flames of New Testament faith in the West, to raise up old foundations, and to lay the groundwork for a mighty Christian future. [1]

To guide new converts, Patrick ordained overseers or bishops in charge of the local churches. Wherever he went, new churches sprang up, and to strengthen them he also founded schools. These two organizations were so closely united that some writers have mistakenly called them monasteries. The scholarly and missionary groups created by Patrick were very different from those ascetic and celibate centers which the papacy strove to multiply. [1]

The marvelous educational system of the Celtic Church, revised and better organized by Patrick, spread successfully over Europe until the Benedictine system, favored by the papacy and reinforced by the state, robbed the Celtic Church of its renown and sought to destroy all the records of its educational system. [1]

In the years preceding the birth of Patrick new and strange doctrines flooded Europe like the billows of the ocean. Gospel truths, stimulating the minds of men, had opened up so many areas of influence that counterfeiting doctrines had been brought in by designing clergy who strove for the crown while shunning the cross. Patrick was obliged to take his stand against these teachings. [1]

The Council of Nicaea, convened in 325 by Emperor Constantine, started the religious controversy which has never ceased. Assembling under the sanction of a united church and state, that famous gathering commanded the submission of believers to new doctrines… (Most prominent was the doctrine of the Trinity). The council had decided, and the papacy had appropriated the decision as its own…Then the papal party proceeded to call those who would not subscribe to this teaching, Arians, while they took to themselves the title of Trinitarians. An erroneous charge was circulated that all who were called Arians believed that Christ was a created being.,, [1]

It is doubtful if many believed Christ to be a created being. Generally, those evangelical bodies who opposed the papacy and who were branded as Arians confessed both the divinity of Christ and that He was begotten, not created, by the Father. They recoiled from other extreme deductions and speculations concerning the Godhead… [1]

This stirred up the indignation of those who were not guilty of the charge. During the youth of Patrick and for half a century preceding, forty-five church councils and synods had assembled in various parts of Europe. Of these Samuel Edgar says:

The boasted unity of Romanism was gloriously displayed, by the diversified councils and confessions of the fourth century. Popery, on that as on every other occasion, eclipsed Protestantism in the manufacture of creeds. Forty-five councils, says Jortin, were held in the fourth century. Of these, thirteen were against Arianism, fifteen for that heresy, and seventeen for Semi-Arianism. The roads were crowded with bishops thronging to synods, and the traveling expenses, which were defrayed by the emperor, exhausted the public funds. These exhibitions became the sneer of the heathen, who were amused to behold men, who, from infancy, had been educated in Christianity, and appointed to instruct others in that religion, hastening, in this manner, to distant places and conventions for the purpose of ascertaining their belief. [1]

[These councils and synods had] such profound effect upon other doctrines relating to the plan of salvation and upon outward acts of worship that a gulf was created between the papacy and the institutions of the church which Patrick had founded in Ireland. [1]

The Celt was absorbed in Christ's character and ministry,…but made no attempt to deal with the mystery of his nature. Patrick, [while using the word “trinity” in his writings], affirmed that while Christ "always existed with the Father", He was also "begotten before the beginning of anything"…"Today have I begotten thee" [is] referred to "the day of the existence of God". Christ's coming into being was thus definitely stated as following God's.... Yet the Deity "gives equal honour with himself and with the Godhead of the Son to the Manhood of the Son", for Christ was equal with the Father in might and majesty. But with uncritical statements such as these the Celt ceased to discuss the matter, terming it a "mystery"," and leaving it at that. [2]

[T]here is no other God, nor will there ever be, nor was there ever, except God the Father. He is the one who was not begotten, the one without a beginning, the one from whom all beginnings come, the one who holds all things in being – this is our teaching. And his son, Jesus Christ, whom we testify has always been, since before the beginning of this age, with the father in a spiritual way. He was begotten in an indescribable way before every beginning. Everything we can see, and everything beyond our sight, was made through him. He became a human being; and, having overcome death, was welcomed to the heavens to the Father. The Father gave him all power over every being, both heavenly and earthly and beneath the earth. Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God. He is judge of the living and of the dead; he rewards every person according to their deeds. He has generously poured on us the Holy Spirit, the gift and promise of immortality, who makes believers and those who listen to be children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This is the one we acknowledge and adore – one God in a trinity of the sacred name. (English translation of Patrick’s “Confession”)

Patrick beheld Jesus as his substitute on the cross. He took his stand for the Ten Commandments. He says in his Confession: “I 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.” Those who recoiled from the extreme speculations and conclusions of the so-called Trinitarians believed Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” [1]

One of the reasons, no doubt, why the papacy for many years did not mention Patrick's name or his success was the position of the Irish Church respecting the decrees of Nicaea. Centuries were to pass before the papacy discovered that his merits were too firmly established to be overlooked. It labored to gather Patrick into its fold by inventing all kinds of history and fables to make him a papal hero. [1]

The binding obligation of the Decalogue was a burning issue in Patrick's age… Thus, the Celtic Church upheld the sacredness of the Ten Commandments. They accepted the prophecy of Isaiah that Christ came to magnify the law and make it honorable. They preached, as Jeremiah and Paul did, that the purpose of the new covenant was to write God's law in the heart. God could be just and justify the sinner who had fled to Christ. No wonder that the Celtic, the Gothic, the Waldensian, the Armenian Churches, and the great Church of the East, as well as other bodies, differed profoundly from the papacy in its metaphysical conceptions of the Trinity and consequently in the importance of the Ten Commandments. [1]

There is no hint of any other intermediary--angel, saint, or priest - between God and fallen man in the writings of Patrick and for three centuries after his day. [2]

Not overlooking the adoption of images by the Roman Catholic Church - contrary to the second commandment - and other violations of the moral law which the other bodies refused to condone, one of the principal causes of separation was the observance of the Sabbath.,,[T]he Gothic, Waldensian, Armenian, and Syrian Churches, and the Church of the East, as well as the church organization which Patrick founded, largely sanctified Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as the sacred twenty-four-hour period on which God rested after creation. Many also had sacred assemblies on Sunday, even as many churches today have prayer meeting on Wednesday. [1]

Gradually, concurrently with the Romanizing of the Celtic Church, the observance of Sunday became more and more sabbatical, and the observance of the Sabbath fell into disuse. When Queen Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093) summoned the remnants of Celtic Christian clerics to her synods to discuss doctrine with a view to their uniting with the Roman Church, she found that:

They were accustomed also to neglect reverence for the Lord's days; and thus to continue upon them as upon other days all the labours of earthly work. But she showed, both by reason and by authority, that this was not permitted. She said: "Let us hold the Lord's day in veneration because of the Lord's resurrection, which took place upon it; and let us not do servile labours upon [the day] in which we know that we were redeemed from the devil's servitude." [2]

Besides weekly celebrations Christians also had regular annual feasts. The earliest one was the observance of Easter [Passover]. This festival attracted a great amount of attention through the centuries, and during the seventh proved to be one of the major bones of contention between the Celtic and Roman Christian parties… Christ was a Jew and lived according to Hebrew ceremonial regulations. He died during the Hebrew Passover. The earliest Christians, converts from Judaism, also followed Hebrew customs. They early recognized that Christ had fulfilled the Paschal types by his death. His resurrection, they believed, was typified by the wave sheaf of barley. These Christians looked upon the fourteenth of Nisan as the anniversary of the crucifixion and carefully kept it in remembrance of Christ's death. With the spread of Christianity among the Gentile peoples and the rise of anti-Semitism the Paschal season lost much of its flavour. Emphasis moved from an honouring of the crucifixion to a celebration of the resurrection. Those Christians who continued to observe Easter at the same time as the Passover were stigmatized as "Quartodecimans". [2]

In the same way as the Jewish Sabbath gave place before the pagan Sunday, the Passover was displaced by the feast of the resurrection, Easter. Not satisfied with this partial departure from Jewish usages, a party in the Church sought to arrange that Easter should never fall on the same day as the Jewish Passover, even once in seven years…There followed a period of considerable disagreement and dissension…When they [Celtic Christians] eventually relinquished…in favour of Rome, they surrendered their independence on all points and soon became fused with Roman Christianity. [2]

There is nothing in Patrick’s works which indicates his acceptance of the teachings of the [Catholic] church fathers or the canons of councils. He appealed solely to the Scriptures in support of what he believed, practiced and propagated: “The words are not mine, but of God, and the apostles and prophets, who have never lied, which I have set forth in Latin. He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. God hath spoken.” This attitude…is typical of the Celtic teacher.  He took for granted that the Bible was God’s word and could and should be understood by all, and carefully obeyed. [2]

The Scriptures were supreme. Literally interpreted, rigidly obeyed, biblical regulations lay at the foundation of Celtic Christian belief and life. No differences were made between the ethics and morality, the legal system and theology of the Old and New Testaments. The individual exegete felt himself competent to explain and apply the message of the Bible, and he used his own rules to interpret its words literally. Whatever he considered usable he incorporated into the life and organization of the people. Any belief or practice which was thought to be at variance with the Scriptures was rejected. Hence patristic or papal notions and judgements held little weight with Celtic theologians. No appeal was made to the Apocrypha. The sole use to which it was put was to supply phrases and imagery for expressing any thoughts the Celtic writers desired. Various interpretations and differing points of view among the Celtic theologians themselves finally led to the weakening of their position and eased the conformity of Celtic with Catholic usages, and contributed to the ultimate disappearance of Celtic Christianity as such. [2]

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. - (Revelation 12:17 KJV)

As part of the church in the wilderness Patrick did his best to keep the commandments of God, and gave the testimony of Jesus to a beloved people who had once enslaved him. It is sad to realize that the church of Rome has attempted to remove any semblance of his true faith, rewritten his story, and claimed him for themselves. They even established a feast on March 17 to commemorate their “Saint.” Should we participate in any way shape or form in a day instituted to celebrate lies?

Who does our allegiance belong to, God or Rome?  When given the power of choice, which do we chose? Scripture or Tradition? Literal interpretation of the Word or allegorical, metaphysical and metaphoric interpretation? God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit, or Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three co-equal beings who are called He/They? Seventh-day Sabbath or Sunday worship? Passover or Easter? Married ministers or celibate priests? Monasteries or Bible Schools and Colleges? Jesus the only intercessor between God and man or intermediary Spirit, angel, saint, and/or priest plus Jesus? sola scriptura or creeds? Revelation of salvation or relics of dead saints?

From all that can be learned of him (Patrick), there never was a nobler Christian missionary . . . He went to Ireland from love to Christ, and love to the souls of men. . . . Strange that a people who owed Rome nothing in connection with their conversion to Christ, and who long struggled against her pretensions, should be now ranked among her most devoted adherents. (Maclauchlan, Early Scottish Church, pages 97, 98)

[1] Truth Triumphant, the Church in the Wilderness, B.G. Wilkinson, Teach Services

[2] The Celtic Church in Britain, Leslie Hardinge, 1972 Teach Services

For another excellent study on Patrick read What's the real story behind ST. PATRICK DAY?