The Cross of Muiredach - Felipe Garcia - cc

Christianisation of Ireland

The Cross of Muiredach - Felipe Garcia - cc

par Guide Irlande

At the present time, as in the past, Ireland has always distinguished itself as a profoundly Christian country, marked forever by Catholicism . The origins of Christianisation in Ireland actually date back to the 5th century, when Rome decided to convert the Irish Gaelic clans to the Christian religion…

Ireland, a country of religion and belief..

Saint Patrick (Maewyn Sucat) organised Christianisation in Ireland in the 5th century

If St. Patrick is known for his efforts to Christianize Ireland, he was not the instigator: as early as 431, there were enough Christians in Ireland for Rome to appoint a bishop there.

However, the Saint, born as Maewyn Sucat in Scotland, gave the decisive impetus. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish looters, and during his six years in captivity, he turned to religious matters. He finally managed to escape and became a disciple of Saint Germain d’Auxerre, then returned to Ireland after a vision of the Irish begging him to return.

His action can be summed up in two acts:

Saint Patrick tries to obtain the permission of the Supreme King to evangelize Ireland

St. Patrick’s representation in Saul Church – Brian Morrison

The first took place in 432, on his return on March 25, the traditional beginning of spring. While the High King is supposed to light the first fire, Saint Patrick is the first to fan his flames.

The king, Laoghaire, arrives, ready to punish the disrespectful, but he is seduced by Patrick’s oratory gifts and lets him explain his plans.

The king refuses to convert, but gives him free access to the entire territory, a very rare privilege. Without this, Patrick would never have been able to deliver his message.

Saint Patrick travels all over Ireland and obtains the total Christianization of Ireland

Secondly, it was still necessary to succeed in making the content understood, a difficult task, especially with regard to the Trinity. Saint Patrick then had the idea of drawing an analogy with the clover, which has three leaves but is indeed an entity in its own right. In the same way, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God. Since then, the clover has been associated with the Holy One, and to a greater extent with Ireland.

Christianisation continues, without any martyrdom, an exceptional fact in the Europe of the time. In the course of the century, monasteries multiplied and became important religious and cultural centres, whose influence extended as far as Great Britain. While classical Irish education was based on rote learning, the mixture with Latin learning in these places of learning led to an exchange of methods. Thus, around the seventh century, an Irish grammar emerged.

Still so much to discover!


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