This statue of St Paul the Apostle stands high atop a column in the grounds of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, U.K.
Paul the Apostle, originally named Saul, was born around the same time as Jesus. Paul was a citizen of the capital city of Cilicia, Tarsus which was Roman land at that time. The young Saul received an excellent education.
He was later to become one of the greatest critics and most sever persecutors of the new faith and church, referred to in the first hundred years after Jesus’ death and resurrection as The Way. Jesus’ followers were ‘people of The Way’.
Saul’s dramatic conversion experience on the road to Damascus is well known; almost mythical in stature and renown. This conversion changed the course of his life and the Christian faith.
Ananais baptised and named him Paul and his new life began. He visited Jerusalem staying with Peter and James, Jesus’ brother and was then approached by Barnabas a friend from Jerusalem to help the church of Antioch.
Paul and Barnabas began traveling together preaching the Gospel of Christ. Paul’s preaching aroused the tempers of the Jewish leaders and he was quickly opposed by both the Jewish and Christian communities. Paul insisted that the only requirement to be a Christian was to be saved through Jesus Christ, and not saved by keeping the law of man.
Despite many warnings, Paul insisted on going to Jerusalem where he was captured and put in prison. He spent a little more than two years in prison without a trial and was finally granted a hearing before the Emperor of Rome. At this hearing Paul was finally released but soon arrested again. Shortly after this arrest Paul was beheaded, most probably around 66 A.D. four years before Jerusalem fell.
Most of Paul’s writings were done during his times of imprisonment. His love for Jesus Christ who he never physically met is a shining example for all believers today.
Paul’s writings consisted of letters to the churches and a large percentage of the New Testament is credited to Paul and it is his teachings which inform much of the Christian faith.
His feast day is June 29th.