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Saint Paul the Apostle

Saint Paul the Apostle
  • Century: 1st Century
  • Patronage: Missions, Theologians, Gentile Christians
  • Feast Day: June 29th

Paul the Apostle was born in 5 AD, and died in 67.  He is also known as Saul of Tarsus, and is the most influential early Christian Missionary.  The writings that are attributed to him by the church form a considerable portion of the New Testament.  The influence on Christian thinking of the epistles ascribed to him has been significant.  This is due in part, to his association as a prominent Apostle of Christianity during the spreading of the Gospel through early Christians across the Roman Empire.   

According to the writings in the New Testament, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion.  He was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem.  As Saul traveled on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to “bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem”, the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light.  Saul was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored.  Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. 

Along with Peter and James, he was one of the most prominent early Christian leaders.  Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul.  St. Augustine developed Paul’s idea that salvation is based on faith, and not “works of the law”. 

Paul’s conversion dramatically changed the course of his life.  Through his missionary activity and writings he eventually transformed religious belief and philosophy around the Mediterranean Basin.  His leadership, influence and legacy led to the formation of communities dominated by Gentile groups that worshiped the God of Israel, adhered to the moral code, but relaxed or abandoned the ritual and dietary teachings of the Law of Moses.  He taught that these laws have either been fulfilled in the life of Christ or were symbolic precursors of Christ, all on the basis of Paul’s teachings of the life and works of Jesus Christ and his teaching of a “New Covenant” established through Jesus’ death and Resurrection. The bible does not record Paul’s death.  However, legend has it he was beheaded by Nero in 67. 

Practical Take Away

St. Paul was a Disciple that  had a “convesion”.  Originally he was dedicated  to the persecution of Jesus’ followers.  Only after his conversion did he become a Disciple that spent his life in service to spreading the saving Grace of our Lord.  He is well known as the original early Christian Missionary.  We too, can call upon St. Paul to help us to become missionaries in all we do and say, so the Kingdom of God will grow, using all of our time, talents and treasures.