Author or the painting: Valentin de Boulogne

Tarsus, Roman Empire, c. 5/10 B.C. -Possibly Rome, Roman Empire, c. 67 D. C.

Paul of Tarsus, later Paul is one of the most important figures of Christianity because of his role as leader of the first generation of Christians.

His original name was Saul of Tarsus, and was born as a Jew. In Jerusalem he tried to smother the small group of followers of Jesus and became a persecutor of these. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, a deacon accused of blasphemy, as caretaker of the clothes of the executioners.

Artist: Bartolomeo Montagna

Artist: Bartolomeo Montagna

The Bible says he was on the road to Damascus when he had a vision of Jesus, after which he went blind for three days. The incident became his conviction about Jesus as the messiah. After this “conversion”, Paul devoted himself to spreading the word of Jesus by making several trips around the Mediterranean Sea, from Jerusalem to Rome, writing letters to the towns whom he will go to. Upon arrival in Rome, he was placed under house arrest for two years.

Paul’s work meant a revolutionary change for the followers of Jesus as he spread knowledge of a small variant of Judaism and established basic elements of Christian teaching. He is credited with writing 13 or 14 books of the Bible, including Romans, Galatians, Philippians and both Corinthians books.