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History of Christianity in Ireland


Saint Patrick. His two writings which are available today are: 1: His Confession ... He gave Patrick a letter called the 'Voice of the Irish' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: History of Christianity in Ireland

History of Christianity in Ireland
The Origin of the Irish Peoples
  • All Irishmen are the children of successive
  • Before the 10th Century known as Scotia.
  • The Romans called it Hibernia but decided against
    an invasion.

The Scoto-Irish Church
  • Archbishop Ussher believed that Christianity in
    Ireland was older than in any other part of
  • In the 3rd Century Cormac, Chief King of Ireland,
    turned from paganism to the adoration of God.
  • Early in the 5th Century the Irish are recorded
    as believing in Christ.

Saint Patrick
  • His two writings which are available today are
  • 1 His Confession
  • 2 His Letter to Christians

His Early Life
  • He was born in Scotland.
  • His Father was a priest or a minister.
  • At 16 bandits captured him and took him as a
    slave to Ireland.
  • On the hillsides around Slemish he drove his
    masters cows and sheep.
  • It was at this time he said he was converted
    with my whole heart unto the Lord my God.
  • After 6 years he escaped and returned home to

Patricks Call
  • In a dream he saw a man called Victorious.
  • He gave Patrick a letter called the Voice of the
  • He heard the people cry, We entreat thee holy
    youth to come and walk henceforth among us.
  • He devoted his life to preaching and establishing
    churches throughout this island.

His Ministry
  • He conducted extensive evangelistic tours.
  • The places that bear his name bear witness to
    this fact.
  • He wrote, I am greatly a debtor to God who hath
    vouchsafed me such great grace that many people
    by my means should be born again to God, and that
    clergy should be ordained everywhere for them.

The King and the Shamrock
  • Preaching to the King of Meath at Tara.
  • He expounded the mysterious doctrine of the
  • The three leaved shamrock was his object lesson
    as he illustrated the truth of Scriptures.

Patricks Dates
  • Late in the 5th Century.
  • Death is most likely to have taken place on 17th
    March either 465 or 493.
  • The Irish claim he was buried in Down-Patrick
    although the English also claim his burial site
    in Glastonbury.

A Catholic Saint or an Early Protestant?
  • He never mentioned the Pope in his writings.
  • Mary was not spoken of.
  • Confession was not practised.
  • Purgatory was unknown.
  • His Father was married.
  • In doctrine he was Trinitarian, Christ exalting
    and was evangelical believing in the new birth.
  • He emphasised the scriptures.
  • In Church Government he ordained one bishop per
  • Was he a Presbyterian?

Columba From Donegal to Iona
  • Born in Donegal 521.
  • With 12 companions he sailed across the Irish Sea
    looking for a place to serve God.
  • Landed on the Isle of Iona.
  • Established a Monastery, Church, Farm and a
    centre of learning and evangelism.
  • The Bible was transcribed.
  • Iona became a base for evangelistic efforts on
    the neighbouring islands and the Scottish
  • Columba died on Sabbath morning 9th June 597
    after transcribing Ps 3410.

The Celtic Monasteries
  • The Irish and Scottish Monasteries were the only
    schools of their time.
  • As a result of their influence Ireland became
    known as the Isle of Saints in the 7th Century.
  • Irishmen took the gospel to Britain, France,
    Germany and Italy.
  • Columbanus for example established a monastery
    after the Iona pattern in Burgundy.

Resistance To Rome
  • Ireland was the last country in these islands to
    be subject to the Vatican.
  • Successive Church Synods in the 12th Century
    attempted to impose prelacy upon the people.
  • Local villages insisted upon electing their own
    arch-presbyters to oversee the work of God in
    their districts.
  • The Synods of the Roman Church were therefore
    ignored by the people.

The English Pope and the Gift of Ireland
  • In 1155 Adrian 4th gave Henry 2nd the authority
    to extend his own Kingdom as well as the Church
    by invading Ireland.
  • The Pope was to receive 1 penny per year from
    every household in Ireland.
  • In 1171 Henry landed at Waterford and assumed
    sovereignty over Ireland.

Ireland Before The Reformation
  • The Bible disappeared from the land.
  • England found parts of the country ungovernable,
    lawlessness prevailed.
  • The Bishops assisted by the Government rode
    roughshod over the people.
  • The Bishops were noted for their greed and

The Reformation in Ireland
  • 1 In 1537 the Irish Parliament voted that the
    Church of Ireland should become Protestant.
  • 2 The people, however, had to be won over to
    the Protestant faith.

Protestantism Politicised
  • By law preaching could only be conducted in
    English, not the local Gaelic.
  • The penal laws were introduced which degraded the
    Catholic people.
  • As a result Protestantism became regarded as the
    religion of the conquerors, not the gospel of

Saved By A Pack Of Cards
  • Under Henry 8th and Edward 6th the Reformed Faith
    made little progress.
  • Under Mary the Church of Ireland was returned to
  • Dr Cole, Dean of Saint Pauls was sent to Dublin
    to oversee the burning of heretics.
  • At Chester a Protestant lady stole the Royal
    Commission replacing it with a a pack of cards.
  • This was not discovered until he reached Dublin.
  • Mary died before a new commission could be

During the Reign of Elizabeth
  • As the Church of Ireland clergy were no better
    morally or spiritually than the priests
    Protestantism could make little progress.
  • The country was in a constant state of revolt.
  • By Elizabeths death the last rebel had been
  • Also Trinity College Dublin was established, one
    of the first students being the future Archbishop
    James Ussher.

The Flight of the Earls
  • In September 1607 ONeill, Earl of Tyrone and
    ODonnell, Earl of Tyrconnell flee Ireland to
    seek asylum in the continent.
  • They represented rebellion against the British.
  • Their departure opened a new era in Irish
  • An opportunity now presented itself for a radical
    new policy to be introduced and followed through.
  • Could the power vacuum be filled?

The Plantation of Ulster
  • The earls were Ulstermen who now left behind vast
    areas of land which the crown now held.
  • It was decided to fill these districts with
    English and Scottish settlers.

The Plan
  • The land was divided into estates of 1,000 1,500
    and 2,000 acres.
  • The owners of the larger estates had to erect a
    castle and bawn for security and plant 48 able
    bodied men.
  • The rent was charged at a rate of 1 penny per

The Attraction
  • Cheap land was a major incentive.
  • For the Scottish Presbyterians freedom from
    persecution was important.
  • Ireland became both the refuge from oppression
    and the place of a new beginning that America was
    later to become.

The Results
  • Communities such as Belfast, Londonderry,
    Coleraine, Ballymena and Newtownards owe their
    formation to the Plantation.
  • Ulster became the most prosperous part of
  • This province also became the most British and
    the most loyal in all of Ireland.

What Brought the Presbyterians to Ireland?
  • James 6th of Scotland appeared to be a staunch
  • He showed signs of popery as Scottish King.
  • When he became James 1st of England he abolished
    Presbyterianism in Scotland.
  • James Melville, successor to Knox, was confined
    to the Tower of London for 4 years.

Janets Lug
  • In 1625 Charles 1st was crowned.
  • With the help of Archbishop Laud a prayer book
    was introduced in Scotland.
  • A peasant called Janet Geddes flung her stool at
    the Dean of Edinburgh when the book was
    introduced crying out, dost thou say Mass at my
  • Many godly Scots tired of the strife saw Ireland
    as a more peaceful place to worship God.

The Fathers of Irish Presbyterianism
  • Edward Brice, Broadisland near Larne, he
    ministered as a Church of Ireland minister and
    was permitted to worship according the
    Presbyterian model.
  • 1621, Rev Hubbard brought his London congregation
    to Carrickfergus!
  • Carrickfergus James Glendinning was a powerful
    but eccentric preacher.
  • 1623 Robert Blair arrived in Bangor. He had been
    a Professor in Glasgow University. He came to
    Ireland for freedom but explained he could not
    serve under an Episcopalian Government.

The Fathers of Irish Presbyterianism
  • 1625 James Hamilton was settled in Ballywalter.
  • 1625 Robert Cunningham was installed in Holywood.
  • Josias Welsh pastored in Oldstone and
    Templepatrick. He was nicknamed The Cock of the
    Conscience because of his gifts. He was the
    grandson of John Knox.
  • George Dunbar who suffered imprisonment in
    Scotland but enjoyed a prosperous ministry in

Archbishop Ussher
  • Largely due to this godly mans influence the
    climate was favourable to the arrival of the
  • Having been tutored by Presbyterians he had a
    deep respect for their principles.
  • He drew up the Irish Articles in 1615 which were
    Calvinistic and Evangelical. They accepted the
    ordination of Presbyterians, opposed the practice
    of lent and make no mention of the orders of
    Bishop, Priest and Deacon.

The First Irish Revival
  • Rev James Glendinning of Oldstone preached firmly
    against sin and warned of Gods wrath.
  • Many people in the Sixmilewater Valley were
    deeply convicted of their sins.
  • Rev Glendinning could go no further and did not
    reveal the grace of the Gospel.
  • Local ministers came to lead the people to Christ
    and a monthly Friday meeting instituted to feed
    the new converts in Antrim.
  • This awakening had a deep influence for good both
    in the Sixmilewater and further afield.
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