The truth about "Saint Patrick" and the Early Celtic Church" is quoted from the pen of Brian Hoeck ©2001, 2002 Truth On The Web Ministries: All the articles originated by Kenneth Hoeck and/or Brian Hoeck may be freely distributed or mirrored as long as presented in their entirety , attributed to Truth on The Web, and proper author credit given .
Due to the world of Patrick's day knowing the truth about him and the Celtic Church, Rome made no mention of, or claim to, Patrick until at least 200 years after his time. Bede did however make record in 431 A.D. of an attempt of a Roman Catholic missionary to bring the Celtic assemblies under the rule and doctrine of Rome:
"Palladius was sent by Celestinus, the Roman pontiff, to the Scots [Irish] that believed in Christ." (Bede, Ecclesiastical History, p.22) But "he left because he did not receive respect in Ireland" (William Cathcart, D. D., The Ancient British and Irish Churches, p.72).
Such disrespect would be unheard of if the Celtic assemblies had indeed been adherents of Rome's "gospel." Rome was looking to claim what the true Gospel already had when it entered the "Britians" (Britian, Ireland, Scotland) during the first century:
"That the light of Christianity dawned upon these islands in the course of the first century, is a matter of historical certainty" (Richard Hart, B. A., Ecclesiastical Records, p. vii; Cambridge: 1846).
"The Christianity hich first reached France and England (i.e., Gaul and Britian) was of the school of the apostle John, who ruled the churches in Asia Minor, and therefore of a Greek, not Latin [i.e., Roman], type." (Gordon, World Healers, p.78)
"A large number of this Keltic community (Lyons, A.D.177)--colonists from Asia Minor--who escaped, migrated to Ireland (Erin) and laid the foundations of the pre-Patrick church." (Thomas Yeates, East Indian Church History, p.226)
Tertullian, ca 200 A.D., wrote "by this time, the varied races of the Gµtulians, and manifold confines of the Moors, all the limits of the Spains, and the diverse nations of the Gauls, and the haunts of the Britons (inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ)...In all which places the name of Christ who is already come reigns." (Tertullian, Answer to the Jews, chap. vii.)
Tertullian had included the Britons among the many nations which believed in Christ, and he speaks of these places as being "inaccessible to the Romans, but subjugated to Christ." In other words, the Church there was not founded by, nor subject to, Rome.
"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) "Patrick rejected the union of church and state. More than one hundred years had passed since the first world council at Nicaea had united the church with the empire. Patrick rejected this model. He followed the lesson taught in John's Gospel when Christ refused to be made a king. Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world' (John 18:36). Not only the Irish apostle but his famous successors, Columba in Scotland, and Columbanus on the Continent, ignored the supremacy of the papal pontiff. They never would have agreed to making the pope a king." (Truth Triumphant, pp.85,86)
"Two centuries elapsed after Patrick's death before any writer attempted to connect Patrick's work with a papal commission. No pope ever mentioned him, neither is there anything in the ecclesiastical records of Rome concerning him. ...Patrick preached the Bible. He appealed to it as the sole authority for founding the Irish Church. He gave credit to no other worldly authority; he recited no creed. Several official creeds of the church at Rome had by that time been ratified and commanded, but Patrick mentions none. In his Confession he makes a brief statement of his beliefs, but he does not refer to any church council or creed as authority. The training centers he founded, which later grew into colleges and large universities, were all Bible schools. Famous students of these schools -- Columba, who brought Scotland to Christ, Aidan, who won pagan England to the gospel, and Columbanus with his successors, who brought Christianity to Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy -- took the Bible as their only authority, and founded renowned Bible training centers for the Christian believers. ... Patrick, like his example, Jesus, put the words of Scripture above the teachings of men. He differed from the Papacy, which puts church tradition above the Bible. In his writings he nowhere appeals to the church at Rome for the authorization of his mission. Whenever he speaks in defense of his mission, he refers to God alone, and declares that he received his call direct from heaven." (Truth Triumphant, pp.82-84)
Pope Gregory had sent delegates to the Christians Celts: "'Acknowledge the authority of the Bishop of Rome.' These are the first words of the Papacy to the ancient Christians of Britain. They meekly replied: 'The only submission we canrender him is that which we owe to every Christian.'" (Merle D' Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Book XVII, chap. 2.) "'But as for further obedience, we know of none that he, whom you term the Pope, or Bishop of Bishops, can claim or demand." (Early British History, G. H. Whalley, Esq., M. P., p.17 London: 1860; see also Variation of Popery, Rev. Samuel Edger, D. D., pp. 180-183. New York: 1849)
"The monks sent to England [in 596 A.D.] by Pope Gregory the Great soon came to see that the Celtic Church differed from theirs in many respects…Augustine himself [a Benedictine abbot]…held several conferences with the Christian Celts in order to accomplish the difficult task of their subjugation [submission] to Roman authority…The Celts permitted their priests to marry, the Romans forbade it. The Celts used a different mode of baptism [i.e., true baptism: immersion] from that of the Romans…The Celts held their own councils and enacted their own laws, independent of Rome. The Celts used a Latin Bible [i.e., the Itala] unlike the [Roman Catholic's Latin] Vulgate, and kept Saturday as a day of rest.” (A.C. Flick, The Rise of Medieval Church, p.236-327)
"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 labours." (W.T. Skene, Adamnan Life of St. Columba, 1874, p.96)
As noted above, the Christianity which first reached France and Britian was of the school of the apostle John, who ruled the churches in Asia Minor. Colonists from Asia Minor laid the foundations of the pre-Patrick church. They brought with them the doctrine which they received of John, Paul, Philip, and the other apostles of the Lord, which included not only the observance of the seventh day Sabbath, but also the commemoration of Christ's death upon the 14th of Abib--Passover!
"It is probable that the primitive Christians kept the Pasch on the 14th of Nisan as determined by the Jewish authorities, and regarded it as the anniversary of the crucifixion. ...The churches of the Roman province of Asia...followed the older custom, keeping the Pasch on the 14th of Nisan, whatever the day of the week." (James F. Kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland, Vol.1, pp.211, 212; Columbia University Press, New York, 1929)
"...they ignorantly refuse to observe our Easter [Pascha] on which Christ was sacrificed, arguing that it should be observed with the Hebrew Passover on the fourteenth of the moon." (Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 19 where in Bede quoted "Pope" John's words concerning the Celtic brethren)
Other doctrines that Patrick, Columba, and the Celtic assemblies held included the observation of the other Festivals of the Eternal (Lev.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 Britian 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.)
We hope you have been edified in knowing the truth about the real saint Patrick who kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.