Who is St. Paul?
Saul was a Jew, trained by Pharisees since a young age. He was esteemed among the Jews for his exemplary skills in defending his faith, zeal and strict adherence to the Law. This zeal in carrying out God’s purpose extended to his fervency in persecuting the early Church. Saul was instrumental in the stoning of the first martyr, St. Stephen.
Paul is often portrayed as a thin-faced elderly man with a high forehead, receding hairline and long pointed beard; a man holding a sword and a book; or a man with three springs of water nearby.
The Conversion: Why is he referred to as Saul?
After attaining commission from the High Priest and Sanhedrin, Saul began his journey to Damascus to arrest all the Jews, who professed faith in Jesus Christ. However, on the road to Damascus, Saul saw a light. He encountered Jesus Christ, who questioned Saul, as to why he persecuted His people. This was the beginning of Saul’s conversion to a believer of Christ, from a zealous persecutor of Christians to an ardent apostle, testifying to the Gospel of Christ. He changed his name from Saul to Paul, endured floggings, ship wrecks and, eventually, entered martyrdom for the sake of proclaiming the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ.
Why is this feast celebrated?
To commemorate St. Paul as a perfect model of true conversion
The feast is celebrated by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches.