The 'first' effort to evangelize the Irish: St. Palladius

Palladius was driven off by the natives of Wicklow in his bid, which took place in 431 AD, but his companion Silvester remained in Domnach-Arda, and later consecrated a bishop. St. Silvester is traditionally commemorated March 10. Why is not Silvester a more popular name among the Irish, or, for that matter, LOL, Palladius? (Additional Source: Magnificat, March 2013, Vol 14, No. 13, p 159)

Tags: Domnach-Arda, Evangelization, Palladius, Patrick, Silvester, Wicklow

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It is also said that St Declan, my namesake, evangelised Munster ,he was based in Ardmore county Waterford.

Declan Chalmers

Dia dhuit, Declan! Glad you responded to this thread. I am fascinated by stories of those who either evangelized Ireland or who left Ireland to evangelize the rest of the known world. Hope you might share more of these stories here!

Dia is Mhuire dhuit a Gearoid just a teaser for you St Declan evangelised Munster before Patrick set foot in Ireland. Just a note about me fein :- My name is Scottish as my Father was from Aberdeen, mother from Cork. But the Scots and Irish are cousins anyway. I have a website at You might like to have a look.



At the time when Palladius and Sylvester were dispatched and charged with the conversion of Ireland to Christianity, the form of Christianity practiced in Britain was that of the Church of Rome, including all of its doctrine, dogma, liturgy, and ecclesiastical structure, which were not acceptable to the Irish. It demanded that they surrender too many of their ancient traditions and societal functions and turn over far too many of the privileges and rights of the ancient chieftains and nobles, as well as the Learned Class, which encompassed not only the religious Druids but the lawyers, doctors, poets, bards, historians, and genealogists, in short, the entire record of the Irish race. Palladius and Sylvester were not Gaels, they were Romano-Celts descended from the Brythonic pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain. In fact, Patrick's alleged birth name was  Maewyn Succat, which has a distinctly Welsh sounding character. The former had, in fact, been sent to Ireland to prevent the spread of the Pelagian heresy from taking root among the already existing Irish Christian community, not a missionaries or evangelists.

Having spent about a half dozen of his formative teen age years as a slave in Ireland as a shepherd, Patrick was aware of these things. After escaping slavery and finding his way back home, Patrick made the decision to take Holy Orders and return to Ireland for the sole purpose of effecting its conversion. Because of his own relatively long period as what the Irish called a "non-free man" he became very familiar with Irish customs and religious practices. He concluded that the only way to effectively convert the Irish was to combine Christianity with ancient customs that were not diametrically opposed to what he felt was the real meaning and message of Christ. It worked in Ireland. In fact it worked so well that what is properly called the Insular Catholic Church eventually incurred the wrath of the Church of Rome. During the Anglo-Saxon invasions following the departure of the Romans, the ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Church was decimated and it fell to the lot of sons of St. Patrick, in the form of monks and missionaries, to once more establish Christianity in Britain. Rome's reaction to this was.......oh well, that is another and even more complicated story.



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