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Life & Style | St Patrick’s 2016

Saint Patrick was never officially made a saint by the Catholic Church

Saint Patrick was not a saint after all. (Picture: Getty Images)
Saint Patrick was not a saint after all. (Picture: Getty Images)

HE IS celebrated by millions of people worldwide as Ireland’s patron saint on March 17 – but Saint Patrick is technically not a saint at all.

The British-born Irish bishop was never canonised by the Catholic Church, meaning he is not a saint by today’s standards.

Canonisation is the final step in the process of sainthood carried out by the church – but St Patrick pre-dated the canonisation ceremonies which are a requirement today for sainthood.

More St Patrick’s 2016:

This means, in effect, that St Patrick is a saint only in name.

To become a saint, the Catholic Church requires that a prospective candidate has proven their holiness during their lifetime.

This generally takes the form of two miracles – then they are beatified before their canonisation.

When a person is beatified, the Pope acknowledges their official ascension to the Kingdom of Heaven.

They must have performed one miracle – and they are canonised after a second miracle is acknowledged, making them an official saint.

Canonisation in the Roman Catholic Church was not introduced until after St Patrick’s death in the 5th century – meaning he was never officially granted sainthood.

But St Patrick was dubbed a saint shortly after his death for his widespread work in bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Read more: Seven things you should know about the story of St Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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