It’s the feast of my patron to-day, Saint Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland and Equal-to-the-Apostles. With the pressures of work I haven’t really had the time to write a proper post, and it’s a shame that St Patrick’s feast always falls within Lent, but I have my Guinness and I have read passages from his Confessio, and sung his “Breastplate” to the tune I knew as a child, which, I suppose, is more than can be said of most Irish people who have turned the feast into a drunken sham, odious to every Christian principle St Patrick represented in life. In Northern Ireland the Papists have truly turned faith into faction, and St Patrick is there seen, if he is actually thought about at all, as a proto-Provo, or at the very least another Sinner. This is ironic given that Ian Paisley preached sermons about St Patrick, and claimed that he had proselytised an early form of hardline Presbyterianism. For me, as an Orthodox Christian, the legacy of St Patrick is marred and obscured by all this. St Patrick no more preached Calvinism than the symbol of the shamrock meant a false, filioquist God; rather he preached the quick and powerful word of God, with the apostolic authority of an Orthodox bishop.
Read part of his Confessio and see:
And if at any time I managed anything of good for the sake of my God whom I love, I beg of him that he grant it to me to shed my blood for his name with proselytes and captives, even should I be left unburied, or even were my wretched body to be torn limb from limb by dogs or savage beasts, or were it to be devoured by the birds of the air, I think, most surely, were this to have happened to me, I had saved both my soul and my body. For beyond any doubt on that day we shall rise again in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer, as children of the living God and co-heirs of Christ, made in his image; for we shall reign through him and for him and in him.
For the sun we see rises each day for us at his command, but it will never reign, neither will its splendour last, but all who worship it will come wretchedly to punishment. We, on the other hand, shall not die, who believe in and worship the true sun, Christ, who will never die, no more shall he die who has done Christ’s will, but will abide for ever just as Christ abides for ever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Ghost before the beginning of time unto endless time and unending ages. Amen.