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St. Patrick of Ireland icon

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© 2016 - 2020 Theophilia
St. Patrick of Ireland icon
© Cecilia Lawrence
March 18th 2016
4.5 x 6 inches
Ink, watercolor, gold leaf


“I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.”

~ from The Lorica of St. Patrick

“God has given me the grace
to be a minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles,
and to assume the priestly duty of preaching the Gospel.
In my spirit I serve the Father
by preaching the Gospel of his Son,
so that the Gentiles might be received as an acceptable offering,
consecrated by the Holy Spirit.”

- Responsory for the Feast of St. Patrick

I was never really happy with my other icon of St. Patrick, so I decided to do another one for his feast day this year. I’ve depicted the great Apostle of Ireland in the garb of a bishop, with a green gold-embroidered chasuble and the pallium that designates him as a bishop. He also wears a bishop’s miter (trimmed with some decorative celtic knotwork and a celtic cross) and holds a bishop’s crosier which is decorated with various symbols of the Trinity especially associated with St. Patrick, namely the three-leaf clovers and the triquetra with a circle. In his left hand he holds a book of the Gospels (symbolizing his preaching and missionary zeal for spreading the word of God) and in his right hand he holds a three-leaf clover, as a reference to his using it as a symbol to explain the Trinity to the Irish.

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:+: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE SAINT :+:

Saint Patrick of Ireland (c. 387 – March 17th 493 A.D.), was born in Roman Britain, in the area of Bannavem Taburnaiae (spelled also Banna Venta Berniae) where his paternal grandfather, a priest named Potitus, lived and owned a small villa. His parents were both of a noble Roman family of high rank. His mother was named Conchessa and his father Calpurnius was a deacon who also held the prominent civil office of Decurion of Britain. Patrick was not a pious young man growing up. When he was about sixteen years old he, along with many others, were captured by Irish raiders near his grandfather’s villa and sold into slavery. In his Confessions, he wrote that this was “according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep His precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation.”

The young man was sold to a druidic chieftain named Milchu who lived in northeastern Ireland near modern day Ballymena. There, Patrick was employed as a shepherd and spent six long years in captivity. It was in the midst of this miserable condition that he then began to turn his thoughts to the state of his soul and, aided by the solitude and silence of his occupation, frequently turned to God in prayer. Patrick relates that “He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son” and that "the love of God and His fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain." After six years had elapsed, he was sleeping one night when he heard a voice that told him: “You do well to fast: soon you will depart for your home country” and then: “Behold, your ship is ready.” He understood that this ship was some two-hundred miles away, but, trusting in God, he escaped from his master and journeyed to the ship.

The ship was due to set sail on the same day that he arrived, and Patrick begged the sailors to take him aboard as well. The steersmen was not pleased and at first refused. Patrick went to a nearby hut to pray but before he had finished the sailors changed their minds and reluctantly allowed him to come with them. They sailed for three days and eventually reached land. For twenty-eight days they wandered through a desolate country and despaired of seeing another human being ever again. Their food soon gave out, and when some of them were half-dead from hunger the steersmen challenged Patrick to call on God to provide them with food. Patrick confidently replied, “Be converted by faith with all your heart to my Lord God, because nothing is impossible for Him, so that today He will send food for you on your road, until you be sated, because everywhere He abounds.” Immediately, a herd of swine crossed the road and the sailors, delighted, killed many of them. They continued onwards, and came upon a populated area just as their food stores ran out. After a few years of various adventures and trials, Patrick returned home to his family in Britain. Soon afterwards, however, he had a dream in which (as he himself described it), "I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: "The Voice of the Irish", and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: "We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us." And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke.” Later, he heard a voice which said to him: “He who gave His life for you, He it is who speaks within you.”

Patrick felt God’s call to the priesthood and therefore traveled to Tours in Gaul (modern-day France) and studied for the priesthood under the guidance of St. Germain, the bishop of Auxerre. He was soon ordained and later accompanied St. Germain back to Britain around 430 where they together combated Pelagianism in the area. But Patrick’s thoughts turned again and again to the Irish people, and he longed to return to the place of his captivity and preach the Gospel there. St. Germain recommended Patrick to Pope St. Celestine I, and the latter commissioned him to go fulfill his deep desire to minister to the Irish people. Patrick was ordained a bishop by St. Maximus at Turin, and then began preparations for his great mission.

In about 432, Patrick landed in Ireland and was immediately met with the hostile opposition of the Druids. He decided to travel north to the familiar country of his captivity. An Irish chieftain named Dichu—who had initially tried to kill Patrick but was miraculously prevented from doing so—donated a large barn (sabhall) to the saint. A monastery and church were soon built at Saul (from Sabhall) and it became one of Patrick’s favorite retreats. Dichu told Patrick about the feast at Tara which was celebrated by the High King Leoghaire. Patrick decided to travel there, and on the way stopped at the house of Secsnen, a local chieftain whose family soon embraced the Faith. His son, Benen, became so attached to the saint that he promised to accompany him wherever he went. Patrick soon reached Tara, and learned that during the night all fires were forbidden until the High King’s own fire was kindled. That year the festival was held on the same night as the Easter Vigil, so Patrick lit the Paschal fire on the hill or Slane, opposite of Tara. The Druids attempted to stamp it out and extinguish it, but the flame continued to burn miraculously. On Easter, Patrick and his small band proceeded to Tara where he met the High King’s druidic court magicians and their leader Lochru. They tried to destroy Patrick, but instead their own power was shattered. Patrick approached the High King and preached the Gospel to him. Many of his followers were converted and flocked to Patrick. Conall, the brother of the High King, was baptized only two weeks after the events at Tara, and later gave the saint a gift of land that is today known as Downpatrick. Soon the High King gave the bishop his permission to preach throughout Ireland, and Patrick quickly became renowned for his holiness, meekness, and miracles throughout the country.

Patrick faced many challenges and opposition in his ministry, both from the native Irish and from other clergy members, but he also made a great number of converts and personally baptized thousands of new Christians. He worked hard at organizing the country into dioceses and ordained many priests to help administer the sacraments to the fledgling church. He also founded numerous monasteries and oversaw the great number of monks and consecrated virgins that dedicated themselves to a life of penance out of love of God. Patrick was often the target of angry attacks, was almost assassinated, and twelve times he and his companions were beaten, robbed, and held prisoner. Patrick also had to face a friend’s betrayal and the public scandal of having the sins of his youth brought up to humiliate him before his fellow bishops. He was so disheartened by this that he only took courage again after he had a vision of the Lord saying: “We have seen with displeasure the face of the chosen one divested of his good name. He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye.” He was accused by jealous people of taking advantage of his Episcopal see for financial advantage but he defended himself in his Confessions saying that not only did he not accept gifts for his ministry, he often gave gifts to the various peoples he came in contact with. He also added that, “while I know most certainly that poverty and failure suit me better than wealth and delight—but Christ was poor for our sakes—I certainly am wretched and unfortunate; even if I wanted wealth I have no resources, nor is it my own estimation of myself: for daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises.”

At one point Patrick excommunicated a British-Roman warlord named Coroticus because he had attacked and killed a number of Irish Christians and had seized many more of them to sell into slavery. Patrick wrote a passionate and fiery letter to Coroticus ordering him to return the slaves he had taken and to do penance for the lives he had taken.

Patrick's life was filled with many extraordinary miracles and many popular stories about him abound. One of the most famous is his use of the three-leaf clover to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. After innumerable labors and trials, St. Patrick died at an advanced age on March 17th 493 at his beloved retreat at Saul. He was later buried nearby at modern-day Downpatrick.

The writings of St. Patrick can be read here:
Patrick’s Epistle to Coroticus 
Patrick’s Confession

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I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can offer him sacrifice with confidence, giving myself as a living victim to Christ, my Lord, who kept me safe through all my trials. I can say now: Who am I, Lord, and what is my calling, that you worked through me with such divine power? You did all this so that today among the Gentiles I might constantly rejoice and glorify your name wherever I may be, both in prosperity and in adversity. You did it so that, whatever happened to me, I might accept good and evil equally, always giving thanks to God. God showed me how to have faith in him for ever, as one who is never to be doubted. He answered my prayer in such a way that in the last days, ignorant though I am, I might be bold enough to take up so holy and so wonderful a task, and imitate in some degree those whom the Lord had so long ago foretold as heralds of his Gospel, bearing witness to all nations.

How did I get this wisdom, that was not mine before? I did not know the number of my days, or have knowledge of God. How did so great and salutary a gift come to me, the gift of knowing and loving God, though at the cost of homeland and family? I came to the Irish peoples to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even bondage, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others.

If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend myself in that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor. I am deeply in his debt, for he gave me the great grace that through me many peoples should be reborn in God, and then made perfect by confirmation and everywhere among them clergy ordained for a people so recently coming to believe, one people gathered by the Lord from the ends of the earth. As God had prophesied of old through the prophets: The nations shall come to you from the ends of the earth, and say: "How false are the idols made by our fathers: they are useless." In another prophecy he said: I have set you as a light among the nations, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

It is among that people that I want to wait for the promise made by him, who assuredly never tells a lie. He makes this promise in the Gospel: They shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.

- from The Confession of St. Patrick (www.liturgies.net/saints/patri…)

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:shamrock: The Feast of St. Patrick is celebrated on March 17th. :shamrock:

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.

O God, who chose the Bishop Saint Patrick
to preach your glory to the peoples of Ireland,
grant, through his merits and intercession,
that those who glory in the name of Christian
may never cease to proclaim your wondrous deeds to all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
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Comments25
anonymous's avatar
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discipleofthedumbox's avatar
Captured perfectly!
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
kendoyle's avatar
kendoyleProfessional Filmographer
cool
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
AntiCultForce's avatar
Why you so talented, Theophilia? :)
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
:iconohuplz:
AntiCultForce's avatar
You are just being modest as usual. :P
xXDonnieXx's avatar
Very nice.
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Gryffgirl's avatar
Wonderful! I've never seen St. Patrick portrayed as a young man before!
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
:D 
Neoconvoy's avatar
NeoconvoyStudent General Artist
Good work!
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :aww:
Undevicesimus's avatar
UndevicesimusStudent Digital Artist
Very well done!
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
THANK YOU!! :meow:
YulianEruannoNoldor's avatar
YulianEruannoNoldorProfessional Artisan Crafter
very well made ,I really enjoy it :)
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thank you!!
Plugin848y's avatar
Plugin848yHobbyist Digital Artist
Great work!
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Plugin848y's avatar
Plugin848yHobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome!
nKhyi-naonZgo's avatar
nKhyi-naonZgoHobbyist Writer
I wonder why anyone bothers specifying "of Ireland"...

I like the pattern on his chasuble.
Theophilia's avatar
TheophiliaProfessional Traditional Artist
I didn't in my other one, but I just figured I'd differentiate them a bit more.

Thanks!
T0m1n8or's avatar
Probably because of his missionary work. Btw, nice quote from St. Thomas Aquinas.
nKhyi-naonZgo's avatar
nKhyi-naonZgoHobbyist Writer
Thanks. And I know that, but I meant, is there another St. Patrick? So we have to say "You know, the one in Ireland. Not that other one."
anonymous's avatar
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