Pictorial Lives of the Saints – Saint Palladius, Bishop, Apostle of the Scots

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The name of Palladius shows this Saint to have been a Roman, and most authors agree that he was deacon of the Church of Rome. At least Saint Prosper, in his chronicle, informs us that when Agricola, a noted Pelagian, had corrupted the churches of Britain by introducing that pestitential heresy, Pope Celestine, at the instance of Palladius the deacon, in 429, sent thither Saint Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, in quality of his legate, who, having ejected the heretics, brought back the Britons to the Catholic faith. In 431 Pope Celestine sent Palladius, the first bishop, to the Scots then believing in Christ. The Irish writers of the lives of Saint Patrick say that Saint Palladius had preached in Ireland a little before Saint Patrick, but that he was soon banished by the King of Leinster, and returned to North Britain, where he had first opened his mission. There seems to be no doubt that he was sent to the whole nation of the Scots, several colonies of whom had passed from Ireland into North Britain, and possessed themselves of part of the country, since called Scotland. After Saint Palladius had left Ireland, he arrived among the Scots in North Britain, according to Saint Prosper, in the consulate of Bassus and Antiochus, in the year of Christ 431. He preached there with great zeal, and formed a considerable Church. The Scottish historians tell us that the faith was planted in North Britain about the year 200, in the time of King Donald, when Victor was Pope of Rome. But they all acknowledge that Palladius was the first bishop in that country, and style him their first apostle. The Saint died at Fordun, fifteen miles from Aberdeen, about the year 450.

Reflection – Saint Palladius surmounted every obstacle which a fierce nation had opposed to the establishment of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Ought not our hearts to be impressed with the most lively sentiments of love and gratitude to our merciful God for having raised up such great and zealous men, by whose ministry the light of true faith has been conveyed to us?

MLA Citation

  • John Dawson Gilmary Shea. “Saint Palladius, Bishop, Apostle of the Scots”. Pictorial Lives of the Saints, 1922. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 December 2018. Web. 8 May 2021. <>