What images come to mind when we hear the name St. Patrick? Celtic festivals in outdoor squares in the early spring? Wearing green on March 17 to avoid being pinched? Shamrocks? There is probably no figure from the early church so well known to the modern world (especially in the west) as Patrick of Ireland and, at the same time, no leader with so many legends associated with his name. It may come as a shock to some modern readers that Patrick was not actually Irish; rather, he was most likely British and spent much of his adult life as a missionary-bishop among the Irish. Thomas O’Loughlin (1999:48) simply writes, “Patrick was a fifth-century Christian of the Roman Empire, who crossed the sea to an alien land to bring its people Christianity" (1999:48)
In this paper (full text HERE) that I will present at the Evangelical Missiological Society on March 28, I will begin by presenting some background on the Celtic peoples and the early church in Ireland in order to understand Patrick’s context for mission. After, Patrick’s background and journey to faith and ministry will be presented, including his thoughts about and approaches to mission in Ireland. Finally, I will argue that Patrick went about his work as a missionary and bishop while also living as a monk.
Recently, I did a podcast with J.D. Payne called "Who was St. Patrick?" which can be accessed HERE.
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