Parish of St Peter and St Paul

Find us on Facebook

Loading

Saint Paul
Saint Paul by El GrecoPaul was born in Tarsus and trained as a Pharisee by Gamaliel. His original name was Saul and he was strong in his determination to wipe out the Christians. He took part in the stoning of Stephen, sought out Christians and had them imprisoned. One day he was travelling to Damascus and he had a vision of Jesus Christ. This experience led him to see that Jesus was in some way connected with these Christians and he was to bring that faith in Jesus to many people. He was baptised and then retired to Arabia for about three years of prayer and solitude before he returned to Damascus. Now his Jewish enemies were so hostile that he had to escape by being lowered in a basket over the city wall. He went to Jerusalem but the Christians there were suspicious of him, till Barnabas reassured them about Paul. Some years later he worked in Antioch and he reproached Peter for appearing to compromise with the Jews. Paul undertook several missionary journeys. He eventually returned to Jerusalem where he was attacked and beaten by a mob for preaching against the Jewish legal requirements. He invoked his privileges as a Roman citizen and he was sent to Rome. On the voyage to Rome he suffered shipwreck off Malta and when he reached Rome he was under house-arrest for two years during which time he wrote more letters.

He then revisited Ephesus and some think he even reached Spain. Ultimately he was martyred in Rome during the persecution of Nero. He suffered beheading because he was a Roman citizen, at a place called Tre Fontane and was buried where the basilica of St Paul outside the walls now stands.

He was not only a tireless missionary, he was a wonderful thinker and theologian, able to explore and expound the significance of Jesus Christ and his life, death and resurrection. His writings are included in the Canon of the New Testament. His usual emblems are a sword and a book. Like Peter his name has attracted numerous apocryphal writings. He shares the 29 June with St Peter as the main feast day, but there is also a feast on 25 January dedicated to the conversion of St Paul.