Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 16, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 16, 2019 

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[NOTE: Christopher will 
be at the Mountain Views 
booth this Sunday at the 
Wiste-ria Festival. Come 
on by and say hello.]


Who was Saint Patrick? Was 
he a real person? Children 
are told "Saint Patrick wore a green suit, talked to 
leprechans, and while trying to convert the pagans 
with a sham-rock, he marched all the snakes out of 
Ireland." Will the real Saint Patrick please stand up?

 His real name was Maewyn Succat, born around 
385 A.D., somewhere in Scotland, or possibly somewhere 
else, as there is conflicting historical data on 
his exact date and place of birth. His baptismal 
name was Patricius. 

 Around age 16, he was sold into slavery in Ireland 
and worked for the next 6 years as a shepherd. Keep 
in mind that human slavery, as well as human sacrifice, 
was consid-ered normal for those times.

 After six years in slavery, he said that an angel came 
to him in a dream, prompting him to escape and 
seek out his homeland. He actually walked about 
200 miles to the coast, where his dream indicated a 
ship would also be waiting for him. Imagine that! 
He took off and walked about 200 miles because of 
a dream! Amazing. Even more amazing was that he 
found the ship, and though he had to finagle his way 
aboard, he successfully escaped, and spent the next 
20 years of his life as a monk in Marmoutier Abbey. 
There he once again reported receiving a celestial 
visitation, calling him to return to the land where 
he’d been enslaved, though now with a mission as a 
priest and converter.

 Patricius was called to Rome in 432, where Pope 
Celestine bequeathed the honour of Bishop upon 
him before he left on his mission.

 Patricius returned to Ireland not alone, but with 24 
supporters and followers. They ar-rived in Ireland 
in the winter of 432. In the spring, Patricius decided 
to confront the high King of Tara, the most powerful 
King in Ireland. Patricius believed that if he 
had the King's support, he would be free to take his 
Christian message to the people of Ire-land.

 Patricius and his followers were invited to Tara by 
the King of Laoghaire. It was there that he was said 
to have plucked a shamrock from the ground to explain 
to the Druids and the King the concept of the 
Trinity - The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

 Of course, triads and trinities were a common 
concept among the Druids. In fact, one could argue 
that the trinity (a term not found in the Bible) 
was a concept given to Chris-tianity by the Druids, 
rather than the other way around. The Trinity is a 
universal prin-ciple, though does not seem to have 
been a part of the earliest Judeo-Christian teach-
ings. Regardless, King Laoghaire was impressed 
with Patricius. He chose to accept Christianity, and 
gave Patricius the “green light” to spread Christianity 
throughout Ire-land.

 When Patricius returned to Ireland, he treated the 
"pagans" with the respect implicit in his dream. 
Part of this respect was attempting to communicate 
with the Druids on their terms. He also blended 
the Christian cross with the circle to create what is 
now known as the Celtic cross. He used bonfires to 
celebrate Easter, a Holy Day that Christianity supplanted 
with the already-existing spring equinox 
commemoration. In fact, he incor-porated many of 
the existing symbols and beliefs into his Christian 


Patricius spent his last 30 years in Ireland, baptizing 
the non-Christian Irish, ordaining priests, and 
founding churches and monasteries. His persuasive 
powers must have been astounding, since Ireland 
fully converted to Christianity within 200 years 
and was the only country in Europe to Christianize 
peacefully. There was none of the “convert or die” 
hard-sell that was so common elsewhere. Patricius’ 
work ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most intertribal 
warfare in Ireland.

 Patricius was also unique in that he equally valued 
the role of women in an age when the church ignored 
them. He always sided with the downtrodden 
and the excluded, whether they were slaves or the 
“pagan” Irish.

 According to Thomas Cahill, author of How the 
Irish Saved Civilization, Patricius' in-fluence extended 
far beyond his adopted land. Cahill's book, 
which could just as well be titled How St. Patrick 
Saved Civilization, contends that Patricius' conversion 
of Ire-land allowed Western learning to survive 
the Dark Ages. Ireland pacified as the rest of Europe 
crumbled. Patricius' monasteries copied and preserved 
classical texts. Later, Irish monks returned 
this knowledge to Europe by establishing monasteries 
in Eng-land, Germany, France, Switzerland, and 

 When the lights went out all over Europe, says Cahill, 
a candle still burned in Ireland – the candle that 
was lit by Patricius.

 Veneration of Patricius gradually assumed the status 
of a local cult. He was not simply remembered 
in Saul and Downpatrick, but he was worshipped. 
Indeed, homage to Patricius as Ireland's saint was 
apparent in the eight century AD. By then, Patricius 
had achieved the status as a national apostle, 
completely independent of Rome. He was regarded 
locally as a saint before the practice of canonization 
was introduced by the Vatican. The high regard in 
which the Irish have held St Patricius is evidenced 
by the salutation, still common today, of "May God, 
Mary, and Patrick bless you".

 Patricius was not Irish, had nothing to do with 
leprechauns, almost certainly was not a drunkard 
who drank green beer, and didn't drive snakes out 
of Ireland. In fact, there were no native snakes in 
Ireland -- that story is believed to be an analogy for 
driving out the so-called “pagans,” or, at least, the 
pagan religions.

 Patricius was one of the "greats" of history who 
nearly single-handedly preserved the best of Western 
culture when much of Europe was devolving 
into chaos and ruin. He deserves far better than remembering 
him in the silly ways we do today, such 
as wear-ing green, pinching each other, and getting 
drunk. He deserves our accurate memory. Yet, unfortunately, 
as we should all have learned by now, 
all of history’s true Saviors are either killed off, or 
relegated to the closet of ridicule. 

 [Christopher Nyerges is the author of several 
books, such as Enter the For-est and Extreme 
Simplicity: Homesteading in the City (co-author), 
andHow to Survive Anywhere. He has 
led wilderness expeditions since 1974. He 
can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, 
CA 90041 or via]


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


A mystery has developed within the halls of our once peaceful domicile. At first, I 
did not think too seriously about it. Some things, if left alone usually take care of 
themselves. Of course, there al-ways are other things, like my socks, that never take 
care of themselves no matter how hard I wish.

A hint of the mystery came my way on Wednesday when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage went to 
the freezer for a box of ice cream. According to her, this was supposed to be for our des-sert after supper. 
But, if I have all the facts correct, she went to the freezer and did not find the an-ticipated box of ice cream.

I was preoccupied with the evening news on television when my wife came and stood in the arch-way with 
both hands on her hips, staring at me with one of those looks and said, "Where did the ice cream go?"

Well, as questions go, this one was a question, all right. My first response was to say, "Am I my ice cream's 
keeper?" But I knew that would not scoop any goodwill from her. There is a time to laugh and then there is 
the time to answer your wife's question. My problem is I usually confuse these two times.

However, from the tone of her voice I got the suspicion that this was not a rhetorical question. Somehow, 
I felt she was looking for an answer and in looking for the answer was looking straight at me. At the time 
I was looking rather guilty.

I resent this sort of thing. Whenever something adverse happens in our house the first thing my wife does 
is to question me about the incident. And I do remember that this sort of thing happened even when the 
children were still living under our roof. The insinuation that I was at the bottom of some sort of mischief 
is quite offensive to Yours Truly. I usually am at the bottom of something or other, but offensive, nevertheless, 
to be thought of in this light especially from my wife. The grilling continued. "Do you know anything 
about the missing ice cream?" She queried as though she knew the answer.

My philosophy is, if you know the answer why bother with the question. The way she posed her question 
suggested to me that she already knew the answer. In fact, the way she was looking at me suggested very 
strongly that she was looking at the answer. The only thing I could do was retaliate with a dumb look. 
When it comes to dumb looks, I got her beat every time. And why not? I've had more practice.

I did not quite know how to answer these inquiries. If I answered "yes," I was in for some very se-rious 
interrogation. If, on the other hand, I answered "no," I was in for some very dirty looks. I'm not sure which 
is worse, "interrogation" or "dirty looks." Both are on about the same level of pain for the recipient.

While we are on the subject, I have some questions of my own. What I want to know is, does she think I'm 
responsible for the missing ice cream or, does she think I know what happened to the missing ice cream? 
How much does she know about the incident and when did she know it? It was around this time that she 
brought some evidence to bear upon the incident.

"I bought a box of ice cream on Monday and I have the receipt here to prove that I did. I did not have any 
ice cream and it is only Wednesday, but the ice cream is missing." As devastating as that evidence was she 
still had more incriminating corroboration in her accusatory arsenal.

"Also, I've been hearing some suspicious activity in the middle of the night in the general area of the refrigerator. 
Do you have any idea what that noise might be?" Another question! Who does she think she is? The 
FBI? [Female Bullying Investigator]. I must admit evidence was piling up pretty heavy in my direction.

However, I have a question of my own. Am I responsible for every noise and suspicious activity that goes 
on in the middle of the night? And, could it be that I am positively innocent of these cov-ert charges laid 
against me? Isn't a person presumed to be innocent until found guilty? And, does a husband qualify as 
being a person? I am never good at answering questions. For example, my wife once asked me, "Are you 
acting like a fool?"

Without even thinking, I responded by saying, "I'll have you know I'm not acting."

Jesus was good at asking questions. His questions usually got to the heart of the issue. He once asked Peter 
a very serious question. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" (John 21:15).

Peter, being the kind of person he was, thought he knew the answer when he really did not under-stand 
the question.

Finally, after the third time, Peter surrendered to the Lord. "Peter was grieved because he said unto him 
the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I 
love thee." (John 21:17).

At times, the question is not meant to elicit an answer but to get somebody to think about some-thing.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, and lives with the Gracious Mis-tress of the 
Parsonage in Ocala, FL. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail The church web site is

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