HE'S IRELAND'S patron saint and his festive day is celebrated all over the world-- but who exactly was Saint Patrick?
Everyone knows the gist of the biblical tale and why there are no snakes on the Emerald Isle, but there's more to his story than just being the man who banished the snakes from Ireland.
So who was Saint Patrick and what miracles did Saint Patrick perform?
Who was Saint Patrick?
Saint Patrick is lauded as the man who helped bring Christianity to Ireland, which had previously been a pagan country whose citizens worshipped old Celtic gods.
Interestingly, Patrick was not Irish, nor was he born in Ireland-- it is believed his parents were both Roman citizens who lived in either Scotland or Wales, and that is where the future Saint was born in the late 300's AD.
He was captured by Irish raiders at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland as a slave, where he was forced to work as a shepherd until he was 22.
He then escaped with the help of divine intervention, when he heard a voice instructing him to travel to a distant port where a ship would bring him back to Britain.
Patrick later returned to Ireland with the mission of converting the people to Christianity-- something which nobody believed was possible at the time, but as we all know now, he did a fairly thorough job.
Saint Patrick used the Shamrock, now a famous symbol of Ireland, to describe the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland, comparing how the three leaves-- or the Father, Son and Holy Spirit-- could be separate entities yet one in the same.
Was Saint Patrick a slave?
Yes, Saint Patrick was a slave. The story goes that, at the age of 16, Patrick was by the shore in his home country when he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to the Emerald Isle, where he was held captive and forced to work as a shepherd.
He eventually escaped at the age of 22 with the help of divine intervention.
What miracles did Saint Patrick perform?
The most famous miracle attributed to Saint Patrick is, of course, the ridding of the snakes from Ireland, miraculously driving them all into the sea-- but it is far from his only miracle.
It is said that Saint Patrick also saved a group of sailors from starvation as he prayed for food for the sailors to appear, and suddenly a herd of wild swine came into view, which the sailors then slaughtered and ate.
And,incredibly, Saint Patrick himself claimed in his journal that he had raised up to 33 people from the dead--some of whom had been dead for years.