Ireland’s Patrick: Saint? Yes, Catholic? No
by Christine Egbert
I recently read an article on Wikipedia about the Hebraic Roots movement, which I found to be fairly accurate. In it, the author pointed out that those who have returned to the ancient paths of their faith “seek out the history, culture, and faith of first-century believers.”
In contending for the faith that was once delivered to the Saints (Jude 1:3), it is imperative that we disciples must research and disseminate truth because so much of church history has been squelched or perverted by the Roman Catholic Church. Seeking to garner Patrick’s fame for the Roman Catholic Church, in 1130 CE—more than 500 years after Patrick’s death—Probus and Joscelyn fabricated history, from which Papal biographers have spun fanciful lies ever since.
Here are the facts. The Pope never ordained Patrick in Rome, and Patrick was never a Catholic. He was a Jewish believer in Israel’s Messiah, which, in modern parlance, would make Patrick a Messianic Jew! The source for this amazing history is found in the medieval Book of Leinster, which is a compilation of Ireland’s oldest documents stored at Trinity College in Dublin.
According to Dr. Robert Heidler the senior teacher at Glory of Zion, Patrick was a “son of Israel”, whose ancestors were among those Jewish believers who fled Israel in 70 CE when Rome sacked the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Patrick was not born in Ireland but in a providence of Britain in 360 CE in a Scottish town called Bonnaven, which lies between Dumbarton and Glasgow. Patrick’s father was a deacon in the Celtic church. According to Dr. Heidler, as well as other sources, the Celtic church was the last surviving outpost of the first-century apostolic church which operated in miracles. Signs and wonders operated in the early church until the 4th century when Constantine’s compromise with paganism pulled the plug. God’s Glory departed except in remote outposts like 4th century Ireland.
Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Celtic church did not believe in purgatory. They did not pray to Mary and did not honor the Pope. Their clergy married and reared children. They baptized believers, not infants, by immersion. And… are you ready for this? They celebrated Passover. They did not celebrate Rome’s Easter, and they kept God’s 7th day Sabbath. They shunned unclean meats and decried the Roman Church’s hierarchy.
Patrick did not develop a personal relationship with the Messiah until after he had been captured by raiders at the age of sixteen. Enslaved in Ireland, the lad cried out to the Lord from the hilltop where he shepherded sheep.
Then one day, six years after turning to the Lord, God told Patrick that it was now time to go home. So, Patrick escaped. He boarded a ship setting sail for Scotland. Back in Scotland, he spent most of his time in prayer and studying Scripture. Then, one day the Lord spoke to him again. This time He told Patrick, “Return to Ireland and lead them to the Messiah!” So, Patrick returned and spent the next thirty years preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.
History records that God used Patrick to heal the sick and raise the dead. According to one account, Patrick raised to life the son and daughter of King Alphimus, after which the King, his nobles, and the entire town accepted Jesus (Yeshua) and were baptized.
Another amazing, yet little known, saint that the Catholic Church has falsely claimed is Columba, who was born in 521 CE in Donegal, Ireland, where he planted over 300 churches. Rejecting his noble birth, Columba became an apostle of the Messiah. He and twelve followers departed Ireland for Scotland, where on the little rocky island of Iona, he established a Christian community of believers known as the Culdees. Only their community was not a Catholic monastery. It was a training center. The Culdees were religious men who married and reared children, and they taught that it was imperative for every believer to study God’s word for themselves. Iona became the base for evangelism, reaching all the Scots and the Picts.
These Culdees of St. Columba kept the Sabbath and the Feast Days. They also bought slaves then set them free. Then they trained them to be missionaries. During a time in history when most kings in Europe were illiterate, they taught them to read Scripture in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Gaelic.
Here is an excerpt from Dr. Robert D. Heidler’s book: The Messianic Church Arising! from page 67, paragraph 4:
“In identifying Iona as a remnant of the Messianic Church, we should not assume they thought of themselves as Jewish. The observance of Passover or the Sabbath did not seem Jewish to them, any more than reading the book of Psalms or taking the Lord’s Supper seems Jewish to us. For Columba, these things were simply part of normative Christianity. These things practiced by the Culdees had been part of biblical Christianity since the times of the apostles. These things only seem foreign to us because they were forcibly removed from the church in the Middle Ages.”
Below I have listed some interesting excerpts taken from other documents on this subject:
“I, Patrick, …had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son of the late Potitus, the presbyter, who dwelt in the village of Banavan….I was captured. I was almost sixteen years of age…and taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men.’” (William Cathcart, D. D., The Ancient British and Irish Churches, p.127).
“He (Patrick) never mentions either Rome or the pope or hints that he was in any way connected with the ecclesiastical capital of Italy. He recognizes no other authority but that of the word of God. …When Palladius arrived in the country, it was not to be expected that he would receive a very hearty welcome from the Irish apostle. If he was sent by [pope] Celestine to the native Christians to be their primate or archbishop, no wonder that stout-hearted Patrick refused to bow his neck to any such yoke of bondage.” (Dr. Killen, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, vol.1, pp.12-15)
“It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week.” (James C. Moffatt, D. D., The Church in Scotland, Philadelphia: 1882, p. 140)
“In this latter instance, they seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic church of Ireland by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbath on which they rested from all their labors.” (W.T. Skene, Adamnan Life of St. Columba, 1874, p. 96)
Other doctrines that Patrick, Columba, and the Celtic assemblies held included the observation of the other Festivals of the Eternal (Leviticus 23), the belief in the mortality of man, and the hope of the resurrection (vs. immortality of the soul and going to heaven, hell, and/or purgatory); the distinction between clean and unclean animals; “improvised” prayers (from the heart, rather than merely from the lip with repetitions); that Christ Jesus is our only Mediator–as opposed to various “saints,” Mary, angels, etc.; and that redemption and atonement comes through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ alone–separate from works and heeding commandments/doctrines of men (see The Celtic Church in Britain by Leslie Hardinge as well as Truth Triumphant by B.G. Wilkinson, for documentation).
“The Roman Catholics have proudly and exclusively claimed St. Patrick, and most Protestants have ignorantly or indifferently allowed their claim… But he was no Romanist. His life and evangelical Church of the 5th century ought to be better known.” (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. VII, p. 776, article Patrick, St.)