This Day in Christian History: March 17
March 17, 461: Death of Maewyn (more commonly known as Saint Patrick)
Did you know that Saint Patrick was not Irish? His was born in Roman Britain, however, at the age of 16, his town was attacked by Irish raiders. Maewyn was kidnapped and brought to Ireland where he was enslaved. It was during his six years of captivity, as he served as a shepherd, that Maewyn found a relationship with the Lord.
According to the Confessio of Patrick, the Lord told him to flee to the coast, where there would be a ship waiting to take him home. The port was two hundred miles away, but Maewyn did flee, and was able to convince the captain to let him on board. By the time he returned to his family, Maewyn was in his twenties.
After some time, Maewyn had a vision of a man begging him to return to Ireland and minister to the very people that had enslaved him. He did return to Ireland and became known as Patrick. He faced great opposition from the Druids, who were the religious majority in Ireland at the time. Saint Patrick is attributed with introducing the Gospel to Ireland and sparking Christianity in that region.He converted thousands of Irish people to Christianity, including the sons of kings, wealthy women, and common folk.
The Shamrock is considered the symbol of Saint Patrick's day, because legend tells us that Patrick used the shamrock to explain the trinity.
After 40 years of ministry and travel, Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Ireland.