St. Patrick may be thought of almost universally as a Roman Catholic figure, but a church in Grevena, in northern Greece, has always celebrated Ireland’s beloved patron saint.
While revelers in Irish pubs in Athens, Thessaloniki and elsewhere paint the town green with Guinness, while listening to lively Celtic music, others stayed true to the day’s religious roots.
The Greek Orthodox congregation in Grevena celebrates the Welsh-born saint’s mission to bring the Gospels to the Irish on his feast day every year, and an icon of the famous holy man is on display in church there every March 17th.
Patrick is usually thought of as a Latin figure, but the Grevena priest declares “Sainthood does not have national barriers.”
“Patrick is not Greek, but he is a saint and a child of God,” he added.
Although Patrick is usually associated with the Catholic Church — and is also credited with banishing all of Ireland’s snakes — he is also an Orthodox saint because he lived and performed his great missionary work when what later became the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches were one united church.
Patrick was born circa 385 AD and died on March 17, 460/461 AD, putting him unquestionably in the unified Christian church, which was later divided by 1054’s Great Schism.