Was Saint Patrick Actually British?

saint-patrick-actually-british Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Although Saint Patrick lived in the British Isles and became known as the Patron Saint of Ireland, it is widely believed that he was of Roman heritage. The exact details of his life, who is believed to have been born under the name of Maewyn Succat, are obscure. There is evidence that he was born to parents who were part of the Roman occupiers in Britain during the late 4th century CE, and that he went on to become a Christian missionary in 5th century C.E.

Popular belief holds that St. Patrick didn't initially go to Ireland of his own accord. Instead, it is believed that as a young man St. Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates and forced into a life of slavery, from which he eventually escaped. It was after this escape that St. Patrick became a priest. His association with Ireland is heavily tied with this kidnapping, and it was during his captivity and slavery that he likely learned how to speak the Irish language. Within a couple of centuries of his death, St. Patrick was hailed as Ireland's patron saint.