Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Muirchú's Life of Patrick (Author: Muirchú maccu Machtheni)

The birth of St. Patrick and his captivity in Ireland

Chapter 1


(1) Patrick, also named Sochet, a Briton by race, was born in Britain. His father was Cualfarnius, a deacon, the son (as Patrick himself says) of a priest, Potitus, who hailed from Bannavem Thaburniae, a place not far from our sea. This place, as I am informed beyond hesitation or doubt, is (now) Ventre 2. His mother's name was Concessa. (2) As a boy of sixteen he was taken captive together with others, was brought to this barbarian island, and was held in servitude by a harsh pagan king. (3) He served him for six years, as is the Hebrew law, with fear of God and trembling (in the words of the Psalmist), with many vigils and prayers — he would pray a hundred times during the day and a hundred times during the night giving gladly to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's, and beginning to fear God and love the almighty Lord; for until then he had not known the true God, but now the spirit in him was fervent. (4) After many hardships


which he endured in that country — hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness — having tended sheep, having enjoyed the frequent visits of the angelic Victoricus sent to him by God, having worked miracles, as almost all people know, having received divine messages, of which I shall quote only one or two by way of example: ‘It is well that you fast; you shall soon go home to your country’ and again: ‘See, your ship is ready’ — which, however, was not near but about two hundred miles away, where he had never been: (5) after all these things, as we have said, which hardly anyone can enumerate, he left the pagan ruler with his deeds, entrusted himself to the holy company of eternal God in heaven, and, following the divine command, at the age of twenty-three, sailed in the ship that was awaiting him, together with strangers - aliens and pagans, who worshipped many false gods — to Britain.