What did St Patrick really believe?
St. Patrick is believed to have been a native of mainland Britain, Scotland it seems has the strongest claim as the place of his birth, during the early part of the 5th century.
As a young lad, at the age of 16, he was taken captive by raiders from his father’s farm and brought to Ireland and sold as a slave, where it is believed he tended sheep on the slopes of Slemish. His captivity became a means of blessing. It was the means of bringing about the conversion of his soul. Ireland may not have been the land of his natural birth but it was certainly the land of his spiritual birth.
We are privileged to have two works which have come down to us from the hand of Patrick. They are his ‘Confession’, and his ‘Letter to the Christians’. In his confession he has the following to say about his conversion to Christ:
After six years of slavery he escaped from his master, and making his way to the coast, procured a passage on board a boat, and after enduring many hardships, was able to be reunited with his parents in Scotland.
However he was not to be long in his father’s house. He had witnessed the darkness of Ireland and desired to bring it some of his light. A remarkable dream which he had led him back to Ireland. In his dream he saw a man coming to him as if from Ireland, whose name was Victoricius, bearing innumerable letters. He gave one to Patrick and the opening words were The voice of the Irish. As he read this in his dream he heard a call coming from the western sea:
There is a local connection with St. Patrick and Templepatrick. According to tradition St. Patrick, during his time in Ireland is thought to have baptised converts at an ancient well in the village and is credited with founding a Church which stood in the area of the old graveyard, where the Templetown Mausoleum now stands.
What did St. Patrick really believe? We can discern this from his works.
To be continued