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St Patrick
d. 492/3 or 460/1

March 17th St Patrick’s Day St Patrick was an evangelist and died about 461AD. In his book ‘Confessions’, St Patrick said he came from ‘Bannaventarbernia’ and his father worked on
the wall. ‘Banna’ is Birdoswald (near Brampton on Hadrians Wall). We know this because a Roman carved stone was dug up in the area with the word Banna on it. The stone is in Lanercost Priory, near Brampton. ‘Vent‘ means loophole in embattled wall, allowing passage out of, outlet to, going to. There is such a ‘vent’ (where a stream runs through the wall) between Birdoswald and Irthington, but also the meaning ‘going to’ is relevant. ‘Arbeia’ was a prominent Roman site overlooking and protecting the Tyne Estuary and a prominent military supply base for ‘Wall’. The pay chests would be delivered to ‘Arebeia’ and it was the lifeline to the rest of the ‘Wall’.

St Patrick would describe his homeplace as Banna (Birdoswald) Vent (going to) Arbeia (by
Tynemouth). Roman fortifications extended to Maryport which is exactly opposite to where
St Patrick was taken captive to, on Mount Slemish, Ireland.
Info supplied by M. S. Quinn, Frizington.


PATRICK was born into the upper classes of late Roman Britain. His father was a civil official and a deacon of the Christian church, and his grandfather was a priest. Barely sixteen, Patrick was carried off by raiders and became a slave in Ireland. He escaped after six years and returned home, but was called in a dream to preach the gospel in Ireland.

After study, possibly under St Germanus at Auxerre in Gaul, he returned to Ireland as a missionary bishop for the rest of his long life. He was enormously successful in extending and organising the Christian church in that land.

Patrick's Confession, in which he reviews his life's work, is accepted as authentic. It shows clearly his sense of God's direct and specific guidance, his humility, his intense prayer life, and his ability.

When it comes down to dates and places, however, St Patrick's writing tells us very little, and his history is surrounded by controversy and confused by the pious record of later ages. His dates of birth and death are contested: the traditional date of death, 492/3, has recently been defended, although many modern scholars (and the A.S.B. lectionary) prefer 460 or 461.

St Patrick is Ireland's saint. His claim to be one of Cumbria's lies in the likelihood that he was born here. He says that his father's country estate, where he was captured, was at a place called Bannavem Taburniae or Banna Venta Burniae. Although sites as far south as Gloucester have been suggested, there are strong arguments for proposInq that this was the civil settlement of the Roman fort of Banna, i.e. Birdoswald or, less likely, Bewcastle. Carlisle, then, would be the centre where Patrick's father held office in church and civil government.

Little weight can be placed on dedications to Patrick. His ownnarrative shows that he left Cumbria early in his career. and it is improbable that any memory of his activities survived the upheavals of the sixth and seventh centuries. Preston Patrick and Bampton Patrick probably contain the name of a thirteenth-century lord, Patrick de Culwen: the dedications are later.
Aspatria, Patrick's Ash, may refer to a secular Hiberno-Norse lord. the church is dedicated to St Kentigern.

DEDICATIONS: Ousby (now St Luke), Bampton, Patterdale, Preston Patrick.

COMMEMORATION: 17th March
SOURCES: J B Bury, The Life of St Patrick and his Place in history (London,
1905);
M W Barley and R P C Hanson (eds.). Christianity in Britain, 300-700
(Leicester. 1968);
L Bieter, The Life and Legend of St Patrick (Dublin, 1949); C Vhomss.
Christianity in
Roman Britain to A D 500 (London, 1981), pp. 307-46.

 

ABOUT SAINT PATRICK

Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city

Why Saint Patrick's Day?
Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.

So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

St. Patricks Day gift baskets are a great way to celebrate the holiday. Send gift baskets to your family and friends and surprise them with beer baskets to enjoy on the holiday. Celebrate St. Patrick and make this year a memorable one.