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St Patrick

18 19 lIght of the World a pagan heart I suspect Patrick was accused of pagan practices, as somebody seems to have related how he had cried out to the sun during his sleep paralysis. The Confession discusses this at length, but the surviving copies of the text say that he had called out Helias, which must be a spelling alteration to make Helios look more like Elias, the Latin for Elijah, for Patrick admits crying out to the sun for help, but then excuses himself by saying that he had reacted in ignorance and concluding in very Christian terms the sun will never reign, nor will its splendour last. All who worship it will find the punishment of misery, but we who believe and adore the true sun, Christ, will never die. I was asleep, and Satan attacked me violently, something I shall remember as long as I am in this body. A huge rock fell on me, as it were, and I could not move my limbs. But whence did it come to my ignorant mind to call on Helias At this I saw the sun rise in the sky and shouted Helias Helias with all my strength, and lo, the suns splendour fell on me and at once scattered all this weight. Nevertheless Patrick was a most sincere Christian, albeit of the older, more Gnostic belief tradition taught by Pelagius, and which was seemingly widespread amongst the RomanoBritish, that believers were free and could develop their own relationship with the divine. 4th century mosaic from Rudston, N. Yorkshire
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