Added on 28/10/2013
A challenge to the traditionally held view that St Patrick came from Britain has been presented in the shape of a new book written by the Revd Marcus Losack. A four year search by the Wicklow based Church of Ireland cleric has led him to the conclusion that Ireland’s patron saint was from Brittany in France. He has produced his findings in a new book, Rediscovering Saint Patrick: A New Theory of Origins, which was launched last Thursday, 24 October by Archbishop Michael Jackson in the Deanery of St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Marcus Losack addresses the complex questions surrounding the geographical origins of Patrick and in particular focuses on Bannavem Tiburniae, which is mentioned in Saint Patrick’s ‘Confession’. In his ‘Confession’, which is written in Latin, he refers to places that have never been clearly identified. However, Mr Losack has discovered a local tradition at Chateau de Bonaban, near St Malo in Brittany claiming that the first building on the site dated back to the late Roman period and belonged to Patrick’s father, Calpurnius.
Irish pirates landed nearby at Cancale, crept through a forest called Quokelunde, then attacked the estate and burned it to the ground. Tradition has it that the youngest son, Patrice, was the only member of his family to survive and that he was abducted and brought to Ireland. At the time the area was called Bonavenna de Tiberio. Mr Losack says this name bears an uncanny resemblance to Bannavem Tiburniae which appears in St Patrick’s Confession as the location of his father’s house.
Launching the book, Archbishop Jackson said it was both scholarly and suggestive. “Rediscovering Saint Patrick is a painstaking examination of manuscripts, of geographies, of families leading to a range of conclusions which add freshness and vitality to the well–worked subject of St Patrick. It leads to a most exciting conclusion to the effect that older history serves the needs of newer history and, in finding fresh prominence, gives itself a new purpose,” he stated.
Dr Jackson added that the book held to the theme that Brittany is the place to look for the origin and early life of Patrick. “It clearly set out the doctrinal and the ecclesiastical politics which frame the life of Patrick along with his tragedies and his betrayal by those whom he had expected to be able to trust,” he said.
Marcus Losack pointed out that Patrick is an iconic figure whose life and story are inextricably intertwined with the lives and stories of Irish people. “He has shaped our understanding of ourselves,” he said. However, he argued that the half truth “told relentlessly” by scholars – that we know little about the life of St Patrick but one thing we can say for certain is that he was from Britain – was a lie.
He welcomed two people from the village where the Chateau de Bonaban is located, Patrick and Isabelle Loisel. He said a committee had been formed there and it was hoped that an archaeological dig could be carried out to search for Roman remains.
Mr Losack thanked everyone for coming to the launch and Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Victor Stacey, for allowing the launch to take place in his home. He also thanked Columba Press for publishing the book.
Rediscovering Saint Patrick – A New Theory of Origins by Marcus Losack is published by Columba Press in Ireland and is now available as a paperback or ebook, directly from the publishers www.columba.ie, online through Amazon.com or from all good bookstores.
Photo: The Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Marcus Losack and Fergal O’Boyle of Columba Press
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