Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | March 17, 2012


Patrick was born in Britain in c. 387 and died March 17, 460 AD. Patrick means “nobleman” in Latin. It might be a title and not his real name. Calpornius, his father, was a deacon, his grandfather Potitus, an elder in the church. Patrick rejected the faith of his father and grandfather.

When he was about sixteen, he was captured and carried off as a slave to Ireland. Patrick worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years—during which time he learned the ancient Irish language and, most importantly, he trusted Christ as his own personal Savior.

He writes that his faith grew in captivity, and that he prayed daily. After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away he says, where he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.

Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home: I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’”

Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary. It is said that the entire country was converted to Christ with churches established in every town.  Tradition says that he used the three leaved Shamrock as an illustration of the Trinity—hence, the importance of the Shamrock and its green color on St. Patrick’s Day. Snakes were not native to Ireland. So, the story about St. Patrick driving the snakes out is just a legend. However, he gave that Old Serpent a rough time!


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