Saints & Martyrs

Saint Paul

Paul (d. ca. 65), early evangelist and martyr. According to Acts, a Roman citizen probably from Tarsus and devout Jew known as Saul was assigned to arrest and persecute Christians. While travelling to Damascus, he had a vision of Christ and was temporarily blinded. When he recovered his sight, Saul converted to Christianity, took the name Paul, and began missionary activity throughout the Mediterranean. His letters of advice and counsel to small communities of Christians are an important source of information for Christian life and religious practice during the first century. He was arrested and beheaded in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero.

Excerpt from The Golden Legend

The conversion of St. Paul was made the same year that Christ suffered his passion, and St. Stephen was stoned also, not in the year natural, but appearing. ...

[After his martyrdom,] the head of St. Paul was cast in a valley, and for the multitude of other heads of men that were there slain and thrown there, it could not be known which it was. It is read in the epistle of St. Dionysius that on a time the valley should be made clean, and the head of St. Paul was cast out with the other heads. And a shepherd that kept sheep took it with his staff, and set it up by the place where his sheep grazed; he saw by three nights continually, and his lord also, a right great light shine upon the said head. Then they went and told it to the Bishop and to other good Christian men, which anon said, "Truly that is the head of St. Paul." And then the Bishop with a great multitude of Christian men took that head with great reverence, and set it in a tablet of gold, and put it to the body for to join it thereto. Then the Patriarch answered, "We know well that many holy men [were] slain and their heads [disposed of] in that place, yet I doubt whether this be the head of Paul or no, but let us set this head at the feet of the body, and pray we unto Almighty God that if it be his head that the body may turn and join it to the head," which pleased well to them all, and they set the head at the feet of the body of Paul, and then all they prayed, and the body turned him, and in his place joined him to the head, and then all they blessed God, and thus knew verily that that was the head of St. Paul.

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