This was taught us some years back & many believe all Aussies should be aware of it, if not know revere it.
THE CROSSES OF THE FLAG ST. PATRICK’S CROSS
Diocletian Constantine became the Emperor of Rome, elected by legions of the army while he was still in Britain. When the whole Empire had acknowledged him, he stopped the persecution of the Christians. During his reign of about 30 years, he himself was baptised, & he proclaimed the Christian faith to be the official religion of the Roman Empire. Teachers, protected by the highest authority, travelled to the furthest boundaries, encouraging those who were now relieved from the burden of oppression, receiving all those who would believe. When the Roman Empire was threatened by invasion the armies were withdrawn from the most distant colonies to defend the central provinces. From the year 400, hordes of heathen Angles & Saxons from the continent came swarming into Britain, raiding the towns & cultivation that had prospered under Roman rule, burning the churches.
They drove the Christians before them to the mountains of the west. Patrick was born in a Christian family, on the west coast of Britain, possibly in southern Scotland. One day when he was herding his father’s sheep along the grassy dunes beside the sea he was kidnapped by Irish pirates & carried away to slavery. Taken to Western Ireland, his master set him to work to feed the pigs. In a few years he managed to escape on a boat that was trading Irish Wolfhounds that was sold in France. Landed in France, he made his way to monastery to claim protection after his adventures. During his years of education at Tours & Auxerre, he kept in his mind & his prayers the wild Irish who had captured him, their ignorance, & their rough & heathen life. He was determined that, with God’s help, he would return & teach them the truth.
Ordained to be a Bishop, with a band of volunteers to be his companions, he landed a second time on the coast of Ireland. The heathen belief of the Irish, with Spirits of earth & water, field & forest everywhere among them, was a form of worship of the sun, with fire, as symbol of the presence of the sun on earth. Tara was the central shrine; the home of the High Priest, the fortress of the High King. On one day of the year every fire must be put out; no glimmer of light must be allowed until at night, with awe & incantation, priests kindled a new flame on the altar of the sun, the all-powerful God. From the altar, torches were lit in the hands of swift runners, who sped among the country rekindling the fires on every hearth, while the King at Tara held high festival.
Patrick & his companions came to Tara on this night. On the hill beyond the town they lit a great fire that went leaping into the darkness. The Irish rushed towards them for vengeance on those who had dared risk the anger of their gods; ready to throw the strangers onto the flames. Patrick stood waiting; a great cross held besides him showed clearly against the blaze. He called aloud to the angry throng. They held back – they quietened, they listened. So great was his influence, the King offered the Christians his hospitality. inviting them to tell him more about this different faith. Soon the King, the priests, the people were baptised, the altars were thrown down. Patrick devoted the rest of his life to Ireland, & drew many helpers to him in his task. Under his leadership the Irish became Christians, churches were built, & monasteries with schools throughout the land.
Patrick died about 461, possibly later; he was buried at Down Patrick with greatest reverence. His festival is 17th March commonly known as St. Patrick’s Day. In the years of turmoil when the power of Rome was withdrawn from Western Europe, Ireland isolated, protected by the sea, became a centre of art & learning famous throughout the continent. Among some manuscripts that have been preserved, the Book of Kells is one of the most famous in the world. It is a treasure of beautiful writing, illuminated capitals exquisite miniatures, delicate borders & traceries. The emblem of St. Patrick is not a cross, because he was not murdered for his faith; the symbol known as St.Patreick’s Cross, red slanting on a white background, is the badge of an order of knighthood, created in his name long after his death. Accounts of the life of St. Patrick give various details; one is that he was a modest man who wrote little about himself.
Our flag three crosses showet, the third slants white & red.
It stands for good St. Patrick, in scotland born ’tis said.
He gave his life for Ireland, he lies ‘neath Irish sod,
& now his cross reminds us to win the world of God.