Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Postcard from 1912 Honoring “St. Patrick’s Day”


March 17th is often observed as St. Patrick’s Day.

Is this a day for real Christians to celebrate?

“Christianity Today” seems to think so as one article at its website states:

Patrick the Saint
Behind the fanciful legends of the fifth-century British missionary stands a man worthy of embellishment (Patrick the Saint).

Each year millions of people observe St. Patrick’s Day, but those in the real Churches of God (COGs), like the Living Church of God, do not.


Because of what it is supposed to represent.

The Catholic Encyclopedia makes some interesting, as well as disturbing, claims about Patrick:

St. Patrick
Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland…Pope St. Celestine I, who rendered immortal service to the Church by the overthrow of the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies, and by the imperishable wreath of honour decreed to the Blessed Virgin in the General Council of Ephesus, crowned his pontificate by an act of the most far-reaching consequences for the spread of Christianity and civilization, when he entrusted St. Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into the one fold…

“St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity…

St. Patrick proceeded through Gowran into Ossory; here he erected a church under the invocation of St. Martin, near the present city of Kilkenny, and enriched it with many precious relics which he had brought from Rome…

Many times in the day he armed himself with the sign of the Cross…

Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would not suffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax his penance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:

  • many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession…and…
  • greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.,

Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasing prayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penetential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized (Cardinal Moran, Patrick Francis. Transcribed by Mary Doorley. St. Patrick. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

We in the Living Church of God do not consider that Patrick was an apostle. We do not consider that people should wear crosses. We do not believe that he has been chosen by God to judge the Irish race on judgment day.

We also realize that the idea of purgatory was not adopted until the Church of Rome distanced itself from the teachings on apocatastasis (the biblical doctrine that in the age to come that all who did not have a real opportunity for salvation will actually receive one).

Although most Protestants do not accept the Roman concept of of purgatory, they (unlike the Eastern Orthodox) went along with Rome and also no longer generally teach apocatastasis.

So one reason not to celebrate “St. Patrick’s Day” is that it promotes non-biblical doctrines and helps obscure the real teachings of the Bible.

But there are more.

Wikipedia reports:

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá ‘le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially Paddy’s Day or St. Patty’s Day, is the feast day which annually celebrates Saint Patrick (373-493), the patron saint of Ireland, on March17, the day on which Saint Patrick died…It became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary in the early part of the 17th century…

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. This stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737, the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated, in Boston, Mass.

Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing green (Saint Patrick’s Day. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.’s_Day 03/16/07).

The above should give persons in the COGs pause to celebrate this holiday.

Not only do we not celebrate what “the universal church” observes, we do not accept that God is a trinity as defined by the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.  A three-leafed shamrock is what we in the USA call a three-leafed clover. The early church did not consider that God was such a trinity, hence the observation of a holiday intended to celebrate one who used a green clover to mislead people about the nature of the Godhead would not be appropriate. (Two articles of related interest may be Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? and Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

So, St. Patrick’s Day is essentially a holiday promoting the wrong view of the Godhead.

The History Channel reports:

The Shamrock

In fact the first written mention of this story did not appear until nearly a thousand years after Patrick’s death. The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

So whether the green clover has intended to be a symbol of a non-existent trinity or a pagan symbol related to the rebirth of Spring, following the custom of wearing green on March 17th would not seem to be a biblically-wise idea.

Another Non-Christian Custom

Although most probably consider that getting drunk is the biggest social problem associated with the day (other than its ties to idolatry), one particularly disgusting practice is that people who do not wear green on this day are subject to ridicule and harassment.

One such practice (especially among some American children) is chasing and pinching those who do not wear green on that day. And while some may consider that this type of persecution is only a harmless practice, it has caused distress and harm to many children over the years.

Notice the following:

If you don’t wear green people pinch you constantly (St. Patrick’s Day. P.J. J. Todd M. 3/16/07).

#1 St. Patrick’s Day Priority – Avoid Being Pinched
Tradition Dictates Those Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Must Work Green Into Their Outfits . (PR Newswire. March 6, 2007).

It’s that time again: the time to put on your best bright green suit, march down the streets of your town, parade yourself into your favorite local pub and show your Irish pride. Don’t forget to pinch those who are not wearing green (Anderson, Rusty. Daily Staff Writer. It’s not authentic just because it’s green. Iowa State Daily, 03/08/07).

Although St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious celebration to honor St. Patrick, to us it has become much more. Our memories of the festivities consist of pinching those who don’t wear green (Morgan, Holly. Daily Staff Writer. Holiday tradition changes from honoring a saint to honoring all things Irish. Iowa State Daily, 03/08/07).

Would that practice be one that Jesus would endorse? Did not Jesus object to those who held to tradition but ignored the weightier matters of the law? Notice:

Woe to you…For you…have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23, NKJV).

If not, how can any who consider themselves any type of Christian participate or allow their children to participate is such a non-loving, non-merciful practice, like pinching? (Please also see the article Tradition and the Bible.)

Furthermore, it was quite presumptuous, as well as wrong, for Patrick to conclude that God will use him on the last day to judge all the Irish race. This suggests to me, at least, that he was delusional. Why would Christians wish to be part of this delusion?

The stories of St. Patrick lead to a misunderstanding of what Christianity is and the nature of the Godhead. It also is highly deceiving for the Irish as they will not be judged by a Roman Catholic saint named Patrick.

For those and all the related reasons, we in the Living Church of God do not intentionally wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, do not pinch others, nor do we intentionally observe other celebrations related to Patrick on that day.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Why The Living Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?

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