Try to remember what St Patrick was really about

St Patrick did not wear a mitre and was not even Irish
St Patrick did not wear a mitre and was not even Irish

St Patrick’s Day is commemorated on March 17th not only in Ireland but across the globe with much fanfare and celebration.

It is viewed as a very special day by many but I don’t know what Patrick himself would make of the day being held in his honour.



Patrick is known for introducing Christianity into Ireland and although myths of banishing snakes are attributed to him, we have to separate what is legend and what is history.

Patrick was an adherent to Celtic Christianity which preceded the Roman traditions that followed the Synod of Whitby in 664AD when the Roman observance of ‘Easter’ was introduced in place of the Biblical Passover, which although observed by Jesus and the Apostles, was deemed as too ‘Jewish’ to be popular among the increasingly non-Jewish adherents to Christianity.

Celtic Christianity is often viewed as a desirable form of Christian worship for a number of Christians today, but certain aspects of that observance are for the most part overlooked.

In the case of Patrick the observance of Passover on the Hebrew date of Nisan 14th (as opposed to ‘Easter’) and the adherence to the Fourth Commandment concerning the Sabbath being on the seventh day, Saturday, (as opposed to ‘Sun’-day, the first day of the working week) were the standard practices based on the churches founded by the Apostle John in Asia Minor.

The Celtic monks were also allowed to marry and they did not eat unclean meats such as pork and shellfish in accordance with the proscriptions in Holy Writ.

Patrick didn’t wear a mitre or have a need for jewel-encrusted croziers as he often depicted in pictures.

He wasn’t even Irish. This year when going through the usual motions of St Patrick’s Day, it would be worth considering what really was the day that Patrick revered as his ‘special’ day, and that was the Biblical Sabbath, on Saturday, and not Sunday, which was named after the worship of the sun.

Happy St Patrick’s Day and Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath peace).

Colin Nevin

Chef, King Solomon Restaurant, Hilton Tel-Aviv, Israel 1991-2002