Ego Patricius peccator rusticissimus

The cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. St. Patrick is buried deep within the hill on which it rests, along with Ss. Columba of Iona and Brigid of Kildaire.
The cathedral in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. St. Patrick is buried deep within the hill on which it rests, along with Ss. Columba of Iona and Brigid of Kildaire.

My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers.

This photo was taken in the summer of 2001 during a nearly month-long pilgrimage I took to Great Britain and Ireland. It was a dreary day in Downpatrick (and the photo was taken with real film! remember that stuff?), the place where St. Patrick returned to Ireland to begin his missionary work and also where he is buried, alongside Ss. Columba of Iona and Brigid of Kildaire. Their burial place is somewhere deep inside the hill.

Downpatrick is a beautiful town and well worth visiting. The museum there dedicated to the life of St. Patrick was quite wonderful at the time—basically a telling of his story using the text of his autobiographical Confessio.

I recall visiting a pub there which had a poem displayed on one of the walls, a short epigram about the three saints buried there. I now wish I would have copied it, as I’ve wanted to remember it over the years. Perhaps I’ll have to go find it again someday.

When I visited the hill depicted above, I took a little of the dirt to bring home in a small vial. Some years later, my very young daughter opened the vial and ate most of it. There’s still a little left, though, thank God!

5 comments:

  1. I have a question, and I certainly do not mean to be insolent. One of my loved ones swears up and down that he was taught at Catholic school that St. Patrick converted by the sword, which was how he converted so many. Do the Orthodox hold this to be historically factual, or was that something that wandered into the hagiography at some point?

  2. A wonderful reflection, Father. I wonder, is there any Orthodox site that recommends routes for personal pilgrimage (as opposed to a group tour)? I only found “major pilgrimage” ideas, mainly via tours, when I searched. Any recommendations?

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