St. Patrick’s Influence on Christianity Continues Today
The word “Celtic” originated with Edward Lhuydin 1707, who coined the word to denote those who spoke the language. The Celtic culture includedCornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Patagonia, Nova Scotia and the Isle of Man, with millions of people still speaking the four out of six native Celtic languages that have survived into modern day society.
Celtic Christianity “refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages,” spanning the 4th-7th centuries A.D.
Early historians suggested Celtic Christians opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It’s suggested that the Celtic Church was less authoritarian, more spiritual, friendlier to women, and more connected with nature; but modern scholars state that the differences were less theological and based more in regional traditions and differences in ritual.
In Ireland, St. Patrick’s “cities" grew a deep sense of community. The monasteries, in which monks and married members of the community were welcome to live and work and minister to local people together, inspired beautiful creativity, evidenced by rich art and wonderful literary prayers and worship songs. One source suggests that this infused the prayer life of the early Celts, leaving behind inspirational words of camaraderie in their seeking God’s wisdom together. Another revealed that upon the arrival of St. Patrick more Latin roots and letters were integrated into the culture.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.” Matthew 24:14 NIV
The most impactful line of my research was this:“there were Christians in Ireland before Palladius arrived in 431.” (He was the well-knows St. Patrick’s predecessor.) No matter how we categorize the way they worshiped, the Gospel had already reached those ears, and still today continues to reach into the far corners of the world.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 NIV
This rich truth connects us with ancient Christians. The Celtic culture of worship regarded the connection of God and nature highly, much like we still read in Scripture today.
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