An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


(c. 390-c. 460). Bishop and missionary of Ireland. He was born into a Christian family somewhere on the northwest coast of Britain. Patrick was the son of a local town councilman and deacon of the church. When Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates and forced to serve as a slave for six years. Patrick either escaped or was freed. He eventually returned to Britain. He was ordained deacon, priest, and bishop. Around 435, he returned to Ireland. The exaggerated popular view of Patrick maintains that he converted the whole country by himself. As a missionary bishop, Patrick established his see at Armagh. He promoted monasticism, established schools, and evangelized some of the people. His major writing is an autobiographical Confession. “St. Patrick's Breastplate,” Hymn 370 in The Hymnal 1982, is attributed to Patrick. Patrick is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Mar. 17. See Breastplate of St. Patrick.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.