Saint Patrick (c. 387 - c. 460)
Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Proto-Irish: *Qatrikias; Modern Irish: Pádraig; Welsh: Padrig; c. 387 – 17 March c. 460 or c. 492) was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of the island along with Saints Brigid and Columba. Two authentic letters from him survive, from which come the only generally accepted details of his life. When he was about 16, he was captured from his home and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland as an ordained bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Most available details of his life are from subsequent hagiographies, and these are now not accepted without detailed criticism. The Annals of Ulster state that he arrived in Ireland in 432, ministered in Ulster around 443, and died in 457 or 461. The text, however, distinguishes between "Old Patrick" (thought to mean Palladius) and "Patrick, archapostle of the Scots," who died in 492. The actual dates of Patrick's life cannot be fixed with certainty but, on a widespread interpretation, he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century. He is generally credited with being the first bishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland. Saint Patrick's Day is observed on March 17, the date of his death. It is celebrated both inside and outside Ireland, as both a religious and, especially outside Ireland, secular holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; outside Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself.
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