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Life of Saint Paul the Apostle

The chosen vessel of Christ, the glory of the Church, the Apostle of the Nations, and teacher of the whole world.

Born in Tarsus and of the tribe of Benjamin, he was formerly called Saul and studied under Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians, being present at the stoning of St. Stephen (Acts 7-8). He was wondrously converted to the Christian faith by the Lord Himself, who appeared to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He was baptized by the Apostle Ananias, named Paul and enrolled in the work of the Great Apostles. He preached the Gospel everywhere with burning zeal, from the borders of Arabia to the land of Spain, among both the Jews and the heathen, and receiving the title of ‘the Apostle to the Gentiles’. His fearful sufferings were matched only by his superhuman endurance.

Through all the years of his preaching, he hung from day to day like a thread between life and death. Filling his days and nights with toil and suffering for Christ, organizing the Church in many places and reaching a high level of perfection, he was able to say: ‘I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me’ (Gal. 2:20). He was beheaded in Rome in the reign of Nero at the same time as St. Peter.

At the time of his death, Paul was the founder of many of the ancient Orthodox churches of the East, but he is perhaps most closely associated with the Church of Antioch, which includes him with St. Peter as its patron saint.  Many of Paul’s missionary journeys were begun in Antioch.

Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are attributed to the Apostle Paul, making him the most prolific of the New Testament saints.

Adapted from The Prologue of Ohrid by Saint Nikolai of Ohrid and Zhicha (Velimirovic) (1880-1956)


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