The Conversion of Saint Paul

January 23, 2017 at 4:09 pm

On January 25th, we remember and give thanks for the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.  Paul, known originally as Saul, was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (southern Asia Minor) of Jewish parents, though he was also a Roman citizen from birth. As a young man, he studied in Jerusalem with Gamaliel, the leading scholar and teacher of his time.  The young Saul was educated in the strict observance of the Law. Sometime after Our Lord’s death, he left Tarsus and went to Palestine, where he was known as a zealous opponent of the followers of Christ and participated in their persecution.  As a young man, he was present at the stoning of St. Stephen. While traveling to Damascus one day in order to arrest some Christians, he was thrown to the ground and saw a vision of Christ, saying “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” From that day forward, he went from being a fierce persecutor of Christians to being the great Apostle to the Gentiles, making three missionary journeys to spread the Gospel to people in distant lands and of different races. Thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament were written by St. Paul, so we give thanks both for his journeys taking the Gospel throughout the world and also for his contribution to the Scriptures.