Tradition holds that St. Patrick was born on the coast of England, kidnapped in his youth and sold as a slave in Ireland. After escaping to his homeland, Patrick joined the priesthood. Eventually, Pope St. Celestine I commissioned his return to Ireland as a missionary. While not the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, Patrick converted many warrior chieftains, baptizing them and their subjects.
In the pagan cults of the time, symbols depicting serpents were common and possibly revered. Tales tell of Patrick using a wooden staff to drive the snakes from Ireland. These tales are symbolic of Patrick's success in ending many pagan practices contrary to Christian belief. Patrick used other symbols in his ministry, employing simple clovers to explain the Trinity. Widely recognized as the greatest contributor to the early growth of the Church in Ireland, Patrick is interred with St. Brigid at Downpatrick.
Among the most accomplished of all evangelists, Patrick is shown in this icon with the traditional symbols of the Four Evangelists.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque and photo.)
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Icon © Kathrin Burleson