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The History of St. Patrick's Day - page 3 / 14

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Who was St. Patrick?

After more than six years as a prisoner,         Patrick escaped. According to his writing,              a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke          to him in a dream, telling him it was time            to leave Ireland.

Soon after, Patrick began religious training,           a course of study that lasted more than         fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest,       he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish.

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