Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Patrick

from a window of the new Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick in Armagh.

Patrick is instantly identifiable from several items. He is almost always dressed as a mitered bishop with a crosier or shepherd staff. Since the last century, he is often in green vestments. He is sometimes holding a three leaf clover, the shamrock which he used to teach of the Triune God, the Three in One God. Sometimes a green clad bishop is not Patrick. It may be Malachy, or Mel, or another. There is a church of St. Mel in Cleveland, that has a statue of such a one, but he holds a living fish. This is immensely amusing, the fish points to a story of Mel, and it separates the depiction from the generic irish bishop.

Sometimes he is either trampling serpents, or shooing them away, sometimes with a bell. Now, this picturesque tale has caused confusion. Ireland is an island distant from a continent, such places are naturally without snakes. Some people if they know or believe of nothing else, about Patrick, know and believe, that, Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. The snakes are a metaphor of the pagan druids, whom, he challenged and defeated.

Patrick’s just celebrity is cause of the world’s note, because of his legacy. He found a land of pagan barbarity, and left a fertile Catholic land. Centuries later of foreign occupation, oppression and bigotry, and the faith remained secure. Soon christian missionaries left the island to evangelise other lands, and their are still catholic, irish missionaries flung about the globe.

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