Feastday: June 29th
Patron of: Patron of Missions, Theologians, Gentile Christians, conversions,
missionaries, evangelists, writers, journalists, authors, public workers,
rope and saddle makers, and tent makers
Saint Paul is one of the most important and influential of all the saints. Many of his writings are contained in
the Canon of the Bible and have influenced the growth and development of the Church since the first
St. Paul was originally known as Saul, and he was a Roman citizen and a Pharisee. He even presided over the
persecutions of the early Christians and was present at the martyrdom of St. Stephen.
However, Saul experienced a powerful vision that blinded him and caused him to convert to Christianity
while on the road to Damascus. He was duly baptized and took the name Paul, receiving back his sight.
Paul traveled the world, first to Arabia then back to Damascus. He also visited Jerusalem to see St. Peter, the
first pope and pay homage to him. During these travels, he preached ceaselessly, often drawing criticism and
ire from those who rebuffed his message. Jews, in particular, hated his preaching as they saw him convert
people to Christianity from Judaism.
Eventually, Paul returned to Tarsus, where he was born. He preached there until he was called by Barnabus to
come to Antioch. After a year spent in Antioch, a famine occurred in Jerusalem and the pair was dispatched
to the city with alms.
The accomplished this mission, and returned to Antioch.
Paul and Barnabus then went forth on a mission to Cypress and throughout Asia Minor. They established
several churches in their travels. After establishing his churches, Paul remained in communication with the
faithful, often writing letters to answer questions and resolve disputes.
The letters that have survived have become part of the Bible. It is believed that Paul wrote other letters,
which were lost even before the Bible was established by the Church. Paul's writings are important because
they provide good advice for how Christians should live.
Paul traveled throughout much of Europe, particularly in Macedonia, Greece, and Italy. While preparing for a
missionary trip to Spain, he was imprisoned in Caesarea by the Jews for two years. He traveled again, was
shipwrecked in Malta, and was imprisoned for another two years for preaching in Rome. Despite these
imprisonments, Paul continued to preach.
Paul eventually made his way to Spain, then returned to the East, and finally returned to Rome once again. In
67 AD, Paul was arrested in Rome for a second time and this time he was beheaded under the insane
Emperor Nero. According to John Chrysostom, Nero knew Paul personally.Paul is among the most famous,
intelligent and influential of the apostles. There are some who argue that he was the leader of the apostles, but
this is not supported by the evidence. Instead, he likely preached at the request of St. Peter, who was pope.
O Glorious St. Paul, after persecuting the Church you became by God's grace its most zealous Apostle. To carry the knowledge of Jesus, our divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth you joyfully endured prison, scourging, stoning, and shipwreck, as well as all manner of persecutions culminating in the shedding of the last drop of your blood for our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for us the grace to labor strenuously to bring the faith to others and to accept any trials and tribulations that may come our way. Help us to be inspired by your Epistles and to partake of your indomitable love for Jesus, so that after we have finished our course we may join you in praising him in heaven for all eternity.