Friday, March 17, 2006
Troparion - Tone 3
Holy Bishop Patrick,Faithful shepherd of Christ's royal flock, You filled Ireland with the radiance of the Gospel:The mighty strength of the Trinity!Now that you stand before the Savior, Pray that He may preserve us in faith and love!
Kontakion - Tone 4
From slavery you escaped to freedom in Christ's service:He sent you to deliver Ireland from the devil's bondage.You planted the Word of the Gospel in pagan hearts. In your journeys and hardships you rivaled the Apostle Paul! Having received the reward for your labors in heaven, Never cease to pray for the flock you have gathered on earth, Holy bishop Patrick!
I really love St Patick
St Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in either England or Scotland around 387 AD. He came from a wealthy, but not particulariy religious family. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders under the High King Niall and brought to Ireland where he was sold to a local land owner, Meluic, who was also a druid. Maewyn Succat served as his shephard.
During his time in Ireland he learnt the language and the customs of his captors along with the pagan rituals they followed - skills which he used to good effect in later years. He spent much of this time in constant prayer and, after six years captivity, had a dream in which he was told that his ship was ready. He escaped and travelled 200 miles south to the sea where he boarded a ship leaving for Gaul.
Eventhough he had suffered greatly at the hands of his Irish masters, St Patrick desired to return to Ireland as a missionary. He studied at a monestary on the island of Lerins and was ordained in 417. In 432 he was ordained a bishop and given the name, "Patricius". He was then granted his wish to return to Ireland and landed at Slane with 25 followers. His knowledge of the language, customs and druid religion enabled him to minister to the Irish people in a very real way.
It is important to learn from his style of missionary work: live among the people, understand their beliefs, speak their language and from a place of understanding reach out to them where they are! Whether the mission field is Vancouver, New York, Paris or Nepal, we need to first live among the people and understand their place in the world. The mission field in your own back yard may be the most difficult because you can assume that you "know" the people and understand where they are coming from, but it might not be so!
After his death, Patrick became a legendary figure and was credited with many miracles, the most famous of which is that he chased snakes from Ireland. However, it is believed that this referred to him eliminating paganism as snakes are a pagan symbol. He is also famous for describing the concept of the Trinity by using a shamrock leaf.
St Patrick fell asleep in the Lord March 17, 461
Stephen Lawheed has written an interesting fictional account of the life of St Patrick. Check it out!