Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition: L201060

The Confession of Saint Patrick

Author: St Patrick

Background details and bibliographic information

File Description

Whitley Stokes

Electronic edition compiled by Beatrix Färber, Benjamin Hazard

Funded by University College, Cork and
The Higher Education Authority via the CELT Project

2. Second draft.

Extent of text: 8920 words


CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork
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(2004) (2010)

Distributed by CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.
Text ID Number: L201060


Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.


    Primary Manuscripts
  1. Dublin, Trinity College 52, Book of Armagh, fo. 22 a1–fo. 24 b1. Written c. 807 in small Irish minuscule by Ferdomnach, the scribe of Armagh, and perhaps by two others. Contains among others, Patriciana; the Confessio contains gaps. For further details see T. K. Abbott (ed.), Catalogue of the manuscripts in the library of Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 1900, MS 52, p. 6. [Used in Stokes' edition.] For a facsimile, see Edward Gwynn (ed.), Book of Armagh, the Patrician Documents, Dublin 1937. For the palaeography, see Elias Avery Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores. A Paleographical Guide to Latin Manuscripts prior to the Ninth Century, Dublin 1934–71; vol. II [2nd ed. 1972] 270.
  2. London, British Library, Cotton MS Nero E.I., fo. 169, b 2–fo. 173, b 1. Written in round minuscule at Worcester; dated to c. 1000 by Robin Flower, with more recent additions at beginning and end. Contains Confessio and Epistola; fo. 169v–174v. For further details see Joseph Planta (ed.), A Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Cottonian Library deposited in the British Museum, London, 1802. [Used by both Stokes and by Bieler.]
  3. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 17626 (Compiègne 40 bis). Written in Caroline minuscule;, 10th cent. Contains Confessio and Epistola, fo. 72r–85v. [Used in Bieler's edition.]
  4. Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale 1391 (U 39; U 53; Jumièges G 9). Written in small continental minuscule, 11th century. The MS, which was formerly in the possession of the Benedictine abbey Jumièges, is damaged at the end; the Confessio breaks off at 'insinuaui amicissimo meo' (=244, 1). [Used in Bieler's edition.]
  5. Arras, Bibliothèque Municipale 450 (S. Vedasti 1628 F 2; S. Vedasti 3, 16). Written in continental minuscule, 12th cent., probably originating in Northern France. Contains Confessio and Epistola, fo. 50v–53r; two leaves are missing, one between fo. 51 and 52, the other between fo. 52 and 53. They were still present 1668 when a copy was made from the text. [Used in Bieler's edition.]
  6. Oxford, Bodleian Library Fell 3. Written in minuscule; dated to c. 1100–1200. The script is English. Contains Confessio and Epistola, fo. 7r–13r. [Used in Bieler's edition.]
  7. Oxford, Bodleian Library Fell 4. Written in minuscule; dated to c. 1050–1150. Contains Confessio and Epistola, fo. 158r–166r. Provenance and history of this MSS are identical with Fell 4. [Used in Bieler's edition.]
  8. See also Ludwig Bieler (ed), Codices Patriciani Latini: a descriptive catalogue of Latin manuscripts relating to St. Patrick, Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies, 1942.
    Selected editions and translations
  1. Whitley Stokes (ed.), The Tripartite Life of Patrick, with other documents relating to that Saint with translations and indexes, Rolls Ser. 8vo, Part I. cxcix + 267 [8] pp. facs. Part II. 269–676, London 1887.
  2. Ludwig Bieler (ed.), Libri Epistolarum Sancti Patricii Episcopi, 2 vols., Dublin 1952; reprinted Dublin 1993. [Confessio; Epistola ad milites Corotici. With introduction; with commentary and indexes in pt. 2. In his edition, he uses a stemmatic approach and makes a fresh collation of manuscripts.]
  3. Ludwig Bieler and Fergus Kelly (edd. and trans.), The Patrician texts in the Book of Armagh, edited with introduction, translation and commentary, Dublin 1979.
  4. Liam Mac Philibín (ed. and trans.), Mise Pádraig: Nua-aistriú Gaeilge ar scríbinní Naomh Pádraig, Baile Átha Cliath, 1961.
  5. A. B. E. Hood (ed. and trans.), St Patrick: His Writings and Muirchu's Life, Chichester 1978.
  6. Joseph Duffy (ed. and trans.), Patrick in his own words, Dublin 2000.
    Additional Reading
  1. James Henthorn Todd, St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland, a memoir of his life and mission, Dublin 1864.
  2. W. M. Hennessy, The Tripartite life of Saint Patrick, apostle of Ireland. Translated from the original Irish in M. F. Cusack (ed.), Life of Saint Patrick, London 1870, 371–502.
  3. Whitley Stokes, On the Calendar of Oengus, Royal Irish Academy Transactions, Irish Manuscript Series, volume 1, Dublin 1880.
  4. Edmund Hogan (ed.), Vita Sancti Patricii Hibernorum apostoli, auctore Muirchu Maccumachtheni: et Tirechani Collectanea de S. Patritio, nunc primum integra ex Libro Armachano ope Codicis Bruxellensis (excerptum ex Analectis Bollandianis), Brussels 1882.
  5. George Thomas Stokes and Charles H. H. Wright (eds.), The writings of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, a revised translation with notes, critical and historical, London 1887.
  6. Whitley Stokes, Saint Patrick's Doctrines, Academy 34 (1888) 26, 54–55, 104.
  7. J. B. Bury, Tirechan's Memoir of St. Patrick, English Historical Review 1902, 235–67.
  8. Whitley Stokes and John Strachan (eds.), Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus: a collection of Old Irish glosses, scholia, prose and verse, volume 2, Cambridge 1903, 238–243.
  9. J. B. Bury, Sources of the Early Patrician Documents, English Historical Review 1904, 493–503.
  10. J. B. Bury, Life of St. Patrick and his place in history, London 1905.
  11. John Healy, Life and Writings of St. Patrick, Dublin 1905.
  12. Richard Irvine Best, Betha Pátraic, from King's Inn Library MS. 10, Anecdota from Irish MSS. 3, Halle 1909, 29–42.
  13. John Gwynn (ed.), Liber Ardmachanus, The Book of Armagh edited with an Introduction and glosses, Dublin 1913. [Irish notes, glosses, names on persons and places, etc. with indices, revised by E. J. Gwynn.]
  14. Eoin Mac Néill, The native place of St. Patrick, PRIA 37 Section C, 6, 1926, 118–40.
  15. Eoin Mac Néill, The earliest lives of St. Patrick, Royal Society of Antiquaries Journal 58 (1928) 1–21.
  16. K. Müller, Der Heilige Patrick, Nachrichten von der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften, Göttingen 1931.
  17. Paul Walsh (ed.), Saint Patrick; A.D. 432–1932: a fifteenth centenary memorial book, Dublin 1932.
  18. Elias Avery Lowe (ed.), Codices Latini Antiquiores: a palaeographical guide to Latin manuscripts prior to the ninth century II, Oxford 1934.
  19. Kathleen Mulchrone, Bethu Phátraic, The Tripartite Life of Patrick edited with translation and indexes, Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1939. [Text based on Egerton 93 and Rawl. B. 512.]
  20. Thomas F. O'Rahilly, The two Patricks: a lecture on the history of Christianity in fifth-century Ireland, Dublin: Institute for Advanced Studies, 1942.
  21. Review of O'Rahilly. [1] J. F. O'Doherty, Irish Historical Studies (March 1943) 323–9.
  22. John Ryan, The Two Patricks, Irish Eccelesiastical Record (October 1942) 241–52.
  23. Paul S. Grosjean, Analyse du Livre d'Armagh, Analecta Bollandiana 63 (1944) 33–41.
  24. Gerard Murphy, The Two Patricks, Studies 35 (1943) 297–307.
  25. Ludwig Bieler, The problem of Silva Focluti, Irish Historical Studies 3 (1943) 351–64.
  26. Paul S. Grosjean, 'Quand fut composée la Confession de Saint Patrice?', Analecta Bollandiana 63 (1945) 100–11.
  27. Ludwig Bieler, The Life and Legend of St. Patrick, Irish Ecclesiastical Record, 5th series 70 (1948) 1087–1091.
  28. Ludwig Bieler, The life and legend of St. Patrick: problems of modern scholarship, Dublin 1949.
  29. Ludwig Bieler, The mission of Palladius, A comparative study of sources, Traditio 6 (1948) 1–32.
  30. Ludwig Bieler, 'Exagellia', American Journal of Philology 69 (1948) 309–12.
  31. Paul S. Grosjean, Saint Patrice d'Irlande et quelques homonymes dans les anciens matyrologes, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 1 (1950) 151–9.
  32. John Hennig, The literary tradition of Moses in Ireland, Traditio 7 (1951) 125–9.
  33. Ludwig Bieler, The place of Saint Patrick in Latin language and literature, Amsterdam 1952.
  34. Mario Esposito, St Patrick's Confessio and the Book of Armagh, Irish Historical Studies 9 (1955), 1–12.
  35. Mario Esposito, The Patrician problem and a possible solution, Irish Historical Studies 10 (1956) 131–55.
  36. John J. O'Meara, The Confession of Saint Patrick and the Confessions of Saint Augustine, Irish Eccelesiastical Record (1956) 190–7.
  37. Daniel A. Binchy, The Fair of Tailtu and the Feast of Tara, Ériu 17 (1958) 113–38.
  38. Kathleen Mulchrone, Ferdomnach and the Armagh Notulae, Ériu 18 (1958) 160–3.
  39. Tomás Ó Fiaich, St. Patrick and Armagh, Irish Eccelesiastical Record (March 1958) 153–70.
  40. Tomás Ó Fiaich, St. Patrick and Armagh, Irish Eccelesiastical Record (April 1961) 229–35.
  41. James Carney, The problem of St. Patrick, Dublin 1961.
  42. John Ryan, St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, Studies 50 (1961) 113–151.
  43. Daniel A. Binchy, Patrick and his biographers: ancient and modern, Studia Hibernica 2 (1962) 7–173. [Suggests explanation why parts of the text in [A] are missing; see esp. 41–42.]
  44. Robert E. McNally, St. Patrick 461–1961. The Catholic Historical Review 47 (1961/62), 305–324.
  45. Eoin Mac Neill, Saint Patrick, edited by John Ryan, with a memoir by Michael Tierney and a bibliography of Patrician literature by F. X. Martin, Dublin 1964.
  46. Kathleen W. Hughes, The Church in Early Irish Society, London 1966.
  47. T. Ó Raifeartaigh, Saint Patrick's twenty-eight days' journey, Irish Historical Studies 16 (1969), 395–416.
  48. David Powell, The textual integrity of St. Patrick's Confession, Analecta Bollandiana 87 (1969) 387–409.
  49. David Powell, The Book of Armagh and St. Patrick's Confession, Analecta Bollandiana 90 (1972) 371–85.
  50. R. P. C. Hanson, The omissions in the text of the Confession of St. Patrick in the Book of Armagh, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 115 [=Studia Patristica 12] (1975) 91–5.
  51. James F. Kenney, The sources for the early history of Ireland: ecclesiastical; an introduction and guide, New York 1979.
  52. Richard Sharpe, The Patrician Documents, Peritia 1 (1982) 363–9.
  53. E. A. Thompson, Who was Saint Patrick? Woodbridge 1985.
  54. Review of E. A. Thompson. [1] Michael E. Jones, Albion 19 (1987) 209–210.
  55. Review of E. A. Thompson. [2] E. A. Overgaauw, Le Moyen-Age 94/3–4 (1988) 481–482.
  56. Review of E. A. Thompson. [3] Alan Dierkens, Latomus 48 (1989) 46.
  57. R. P. C. Hanson, The life and writings of the historical St. Patrick, New York 1983.
  58. Review of R. P. C. Hanson. [1] Keith J. Egan, Church History 53 (1984) 548–549.
  59. Review of R. P. C. Hanson. [2] Joseph F. Kelly, Speculum 59 (1984) 652–653.
  60. Review of R. P. C. Hanson. [3] Robert T. Meyer, Theological Studies 45 (1984) 208.
  61. Review of R. P. C. Hanson. [4] D. Ó Cróinín, Irish Historical Studies 24 (1984–85) 398–399.
  62. Review of R. P. C. Hanson. [5] Tarlach Ó Raifeartaigh, Irish Theological Quarterly 50 (1984) 276–280.
  63. Cormac Bourke, Patrick: the archaeology of a saint, Belfast 1993.
  64. Liam De Paor (ed. and trans.), Saint Patrick's World, the Christian culture of Ireland's Apostolic Age, Dublin 1993.
  65. Review of Liam De Paor. [1] Claire Stancliffe, Early Medieval Europe 4 (1995) 220–221.
  66. Review of Liam De Paor. [2] Colmán Etchingham, Éigse 29 (1996) 214–220.
  67. Michael W. Herren, Mission and Monasticism in the Confessio of St. Patrick, in D. Ó Corráin, L. Breathnach, K. McCone (eds.), Sages, Saints and Stoytellers, Maynooth 1989, 76–85.
  68. Alannah Hopkin, The living legend of St. Patrick, London 1989.
  69. Review of Alannah Hopkin. [1] Richard Sharpe, Folklore 102/1 (1991) 120–121.
  70. David N. Dumville, with Lesley Abrams, T. M. Charles-Edwards, Alicia Corrêa, K. R. Dark, K. L. Maund, and A. P. McD. Orchard (eds.), Saint Patrick, A.D. 493–1993, Woodbridge 1993; esp. 'The form of St Patrick's 'Confessio' in the Book of Armagh', 191–202.
  71. Review of Dumville et al. [1] Ann Hamlin in Medieval Archaeology 39 (1995) 296–297.
  72. Review of Dumville et al. [2] N. J. Higham, Britannia 26 (1995) 399–400.
  73. Review of Dumville et al. [3] Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 29 (1995) 72.
  74. Review of Dumville et al. [4] Jane Stevenson, Early Medieval Europe 4 (1995) 114–115.
  75. Daniel Conneely and Patrick Bastable (eds.), St. Patrick's letters: a study of their theological dimension, Maynooth 1993.
  76. David R. Howlett (ed. and trans.), The book of letters of Saint Patrick the bishop with analysis and commentary, Dublin 1993.
  77. Laurance J. Maney, When Brigit met Patrick, Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 14 (1994) 175–194.
  78. Frédéric Kurzawa, Petite vie de saint Patrick, Paris 1995.
  79. Review of Kurzawa. [1] Gwenaël Le Duc, Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l'Ouest (Anjou, Maine, Touraine) 102/4 (1995) 129.
  80. John Carey, Saint Patrick, the Druids, and the end of the world, History of Religions, 36:1 (1996) 42–53.
  81. Thomas O'Loughlin, St. Patrick: the man and his works, London 1999.
  82. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Who was Palladius, "first bishop of the Irish"?, Peritia, 14 (2000) 205–237.
  83. Elizabeth McLuhan, "Ministerium seruitutis meae": the metaphor and reality of slavery in Saint Patrick's Epistola and Confessio, in J. Carey, M. Herbert and P. Ó Riain (eds.), Studies in Irish hagiography: saints and scholars, Dublin 2001, 63–71.
  84. Gearóid Mac Eoin, The four names of St Patrick, in Michael Richter and Jean-Michel Picard (eds.), Ogma: essays in Celtic studies in honour of Próinséas Ní Chatháin, Dublin 2002, 300–11.
  85. Alfred P. Smyth, Bishop Patrick and the earliest Christian mission to Ireland, in B. Bradshaw and D. Keogh (eds.), Christianity in Ireland: revisiting the story, Dublin 2002, 11–20.
    The edition used in the digital edition
  1. The Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, with other documents relating to that Saint, edited with translations and indexes (Vol. II). Whitley Stokes (ed), First edition [cxcix + 267 [8] pp. facs.] Her Majesty's Stationery OfficeLondon (1887)


Project Description

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling Declaration

The present text represents pp. 357–75 of the printed edition. Footnotes are retained, or integrated into the markup.

Editorial Declaration


Text proofread twice at CELT.


The electronic texts represents the edited text from the Book of Armagh and Cotton MSS. The acute accent appearing in a few Latin words in Stokes's edition has not been retained. Text supplied by the editor is marked sup resp="WS". If a source is given, it is indicated. Editorial notes are marked note type="auth" n="". (In some cases, Stokes's supplies or emends text, where Bieler's edition differs markedly.) MS foliation is tagged mls. MS variants are integrated.


Direct speech is tagged q. Citations are tagged cit. This element contains qt and bibl tags. Some citations not identified by Stokes are supplied from Bieler.


Soft hyphens are silently removed. When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, this break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word.


div0=the Confessio. Paragraphs and page-breaks are marked.


Names are not tagged.

Profile Description

Created: At various and unknown dates in monastic scriptoria Date range: 807–1000.

Use of language

Language: [LA] Text is in Latin.
Language: [EN] Witness list and footnotes contain English.
Language: [FR] Footnotes contain one French expression.
Language: [GA] Footnotes contain Old/Middle Irish.

Revision History