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Who is St. Patrick

St. Patrick is a man revered in Ireland and around the world. Despite being an influential figure in the history of Ireland and Christianity, St. Patrick is a saint in name only.

Millions of people around the world celebrate whom they believe to be an official saint each year on March 17. However, according to Irish Central and writer Ken Concannon, the formal canonization process in the Roman Catholic Church was not in place during its first millennium, a period of time in which Patrick was active. The official process for canonization was not instituted until around the 12th century, long after Patrick died. St. Patrick joins two other Irish saints who were never formally canonized. The only Irish saint to be canonized is Fergal, also known as St. Virgil of Salzburg. He was canonized by Pope Gregory IX in 1233.

St. Patrick became a "saint" by popular opinion. In the early years of the Church, many martyrs and those whose lives were especially holy were considered saints, even if they were not canonized. It is probable, with the approval of a bishop, that St. Patrick was considered a saint for these reasons.

The concept of St. Patrick not being an official saint adds to the mystery of the man, who was born in Britain and was said to have converted the Irish from paganism with fabled symbolism that borrowed from ancient traditions.

Even if his status as saint is informal, St. Patrick certainly made his mark, with a world-renowned celebration commemorating his achievements.

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