Today we express our appreciation to the Irish for saving civilization. St. Patrick converted the Irish, who copied books from classical literature through the Bible and kept alive the ability to read them, as the barbarians ravaged Europe after the Fall of Rome. The consequent “Dark Ages” (not to be confused with the Middle Ages!) lasted until the Irish and others converted the barbarians to Christianity.
No offense to the “barbarians”–as they were termed by the Greco-Romans–who did, actually, have civilizations of their own, but these pagan warlike tribes really did settle down, once they accepted Christianity, giving us the High Middle Ages and the various nations of Europe. So let’s give credit to St. Patrick, but also to those other missionaries who brought the Gospel to the ancestors of us European-Americans:
St. Augustine of Canterbury, who brought the Gospel to England
St. Boniface, who brought the Gospel to Germany
Sts. Cyril & Methodius, who brought the Gospel to the Slavs in Russia and Eastern Europe
St. Paul and the Twelve Apostles, who brought the Gospel to the Roman Empire
And more and more, many of whom are unknown. (If you know some, please mention them. There is King Olaf of Norway, but there seems to have been missionaries in Scandinavia before him, many of whom were killed.)
Let’s honor ALL missionaries today, including those to the “third world” where Christianity is flourishing as that of the former missionary senders is declining. Now it will be their turn to save civilization. And to convert the new barbarians in this new Dark Age.