Asréracht Críst! Asréracht Hé–som co dearb!
HEAVEN ON EARTH – ORTHODOXY
A Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus
Saint Patrick of Ireland (+461)
I am Patrick, yes a sinner and indeed untaught; yet I am established here in Ireland where I profess myself bishop. I am certain in my heart that “all that I am,” I have received from God. So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God. He himself testifies that this is so. I never would have wanted these harsh words to spill from my mouth; I am not in the habit of speaking so sharply. Yet now I am driven by the zeal of God, Christ’s truth has aroused me. I speak out too for love of my neighbors who are my only sons; for them I gave up my home country, my parents and even pushing my own life to the brink of death. If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me. I Cor. 15:10 Phil. 2:30
I myself have composed and written these words with my own hand, so that they can be given and handed over, then sent swiftly to the soldiers of Coroticus. I am not addressing my own people, nor my fellow citizens of the holy Romans, but those who are now become citizens of demons by reason of their evil works. They have chosen, by their hostile deeds, to live in death; comrades of the Scotti and Picts and of all who behave like apostates, bloody men who have steeped themselves in the blood of innocent Christians. The very same people I have begotten for God; their number beyond count, I myself confirmed them in Christ.
The very next day after my new converts, dressed all in white, were anointed with chrism, even as it was still gleaming upon their foreheads, they were cruelly cut down and killed by the swords of these same devilish men. At once I sent a good priest with a letter. I could trust him, for I had taught him from his boyhood. He went, accompanied by other priests, to see if we might claw something back from all the looting, most important, the baptized captives whom they had seized. Yet all they did was to laugh in our faces at the mere mention of their prisoners.
Because of all this, I am at a loss to know whether to weep more for those they killed or those that are captured: or indeed for these men themselves whom the devil has taken fast for his slaves. In truth, they will bind themselves alongside him in the pains of the everlasting pit: for “he who sins is a slave already” and is to be called “son of the devil.” Jn. 8:34, 44 (O.L.)
Because of this, let every God-fearing man mark well that to me they are Continue reading “A Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus – Saint Patrick of Ireland (+461)”
HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY
by Vladimir de Beer, Belfast, Ireland
In this essay we will attempt to sketch the historical background of the early Irish Church, demonstrate its close relation to the Orthodox Church, introduce some of the most popular Irish saints, and conclude with a brief overview of Irish monasticism and theology.
It is generally believed that St Patrick brought the Christian Faith to Ireland, his traditional title being Apostle of the Irish. Without wishing to diminish St Patrick’s importance in any way, it is relevant to point out that in 431 St Palladius was sent to Ireland by St Celestine I Pope of Rome, as the first bishop of the Emerald Isle, with the task of administering the sacraments ‘to the Irish who professed Christ’. There must therefore have been numbers of Christians in Ireland by the time St Patrick arrived in the following year. Furthermore, the Apostle of the Irish admitted in a letter that the law of God was well planted in Ireland ‘in days of old’, and that he did not wish to take credit for the work of his predecessors. It seems likely that St Patrick was also sent to Ireland to combat the Pelagian heresy, the Irish Church being suspected of Pelagian tendencies at the time. Having said as much, it is nevertheless a fact that Ireland at that time was still overwhelmingly pagan, with most of the population practising a nature-based religion that was administered by elders called druids. A hundred years after St Patrick, the Christian Faith was still only established in parts of the island.
St Patrick is traditionally credited with organizing the Irish Church, although his activities were concentrated mainly in the northern province of Ulster. It is likely that St Patrick received his spiritual instruction in the south of France, at the monastery of Lérins. This great institution was founded by St Honoratus in 375, upon his return from Greece where he had become familiar with Orthodox Christian monasticism. Like many future, Irish monasteries, Lérins was situated on a small island. For the next three centuries Lérins would be a beacon of Orthodox spirituality in the midst of a worldly Latin environment. One of the great figures attached to Lérins was St John Cassian, who strove to preserve the Orthodox faith against deviations from sound doctrine by certain extreme followers of Blessed Augustine.
When St Palladius, St Patrick and their fellow evangelists came to Ireland there were more than a hundred kingdoms of varying size to be found on the island. The people of each kingdom were known as the tuath, while the king bore the title of ri. Society was highly organised and stratified, reminiscent of the Vedic caste system. At the top were the druids, bards, lawmen and doctors, while the slaves at the base of the system had no rights. As remarked by historian David Ross, the concept of territorial dioceses could not function in such a social system. Each tuath had to be converted separately and each had to have its own Church structure, with priests and bishops effectively replacing the druids. Eventually five provincial kingdoms arose in the place of this hotchpotch of petty rulers: Munster in the south of the island, Leinster and Meath in the east, Connaught in the west, and Ulster in the north. On the Continue reading “Orthodox Ireland – Vladimir de Beer, Ireland”
MULTILINGUAL HOLY BIBLE
“Bígí lúcháireach i gcónaí sa Tiarna.
Deirim arís é: bíodh lúcháir oraibh”.
HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY
Number of Orthodox Christians in Ireland
doubled over five years
According to the latest 2011 census there are over 45 thousand Orthodox Christians in Ireland, reports Interfax-Religion.
This figure is two times larger than it was in 2006 and four times larger than in 2002. Thus according to the official data Orthodoxy is the fastest growing religion in Ireland, says the website Russianireland.com.
The largest center of Orthodoxy in the country is Swords, the county town of Fingal, where 1168 Orthodox Christians reside according to the 2011 census data.
The census also showed that the majority of the Orthodox Christians in Ireland are Romanians (26%), followed by Irish (20%) and Latvians (12.5%).
“Orthodoxy is not something new or strange In Ireland; it has always existed here. It is well-known that Irish Christianity before the 11th century was very similar to ours. But after Ireland was conquered by the British this denomination had been intentionally removed by the Pope. That is probably why many Irish perceive Orthodoxy as something special and dear”, said the Rector of the Patriarchal representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Dublin, priest Michael Nasonov.
According to him, there are seven parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ireland already.
The most common religion in Ireland is Roman Catholicism (3.86 million people, 84.2% of the population), followed by Protestantism (over 134 thousand people) and Islam (over 49 thousand people).
SAINTS OF MY HEART
TOGAIDH mi mo theine an diugh,
An lathair ainghlean naomha neimh,
An lathair Airil is ailde cruth,
An lathair Uiril nan uile sgeimh,
Gun ghnu, gun tnu, gun fharmad.
Gun ghiomh, gun gheimh roimh neach fo’n ghrein,
Ach Naomh Mhac De da m’ thearmad.
Dhe fadaidh fein na m’ chridhe steach,
Aingheal ghraidh do m’ choimhearsnach,
Do m’ namh, do m’ dhamh, do m’ chairde,
Do ’n t-saoidh, do ’n daoidh, do ’n traille.
A Mhic na Moire min-ghile,
Bho ’n ni is isde crannchaire,
Gu ruig an t-Ainm is airde.