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The Conversion of Saint Paul

St Paul was born in Tarsus, in Cilicia ( present day Turkey) on the northern side of the Meditarranean. Originally named Saul, He was very very anti-Christian. His parents were members of the strictest of the Jewish sects, the Pharisees, and he was brought up rigidly conforming to Pharisaic teachings, quite different from Christianity.

An outspoken critic of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and of those who followed Him, he was an onlooker, if not an actual participant, in the stoning to death of St Stephen, the first martyr, in the year 35AD. By his own words he many times participated in voting to death many of the Christain saints, and in imprisoning and punishing others. He thought that that was his bounden duty.

On the road to Damascus, with the firm purpose of arresting as many Christians as he could, and bringing them back to Jerusalem in chains, for trial, and possible torture and death, he was suddenly surrounded by a brilliant light, and fell to the ground. He heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?" He answered, "Who art thou, Lord?" and the reply was, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou art persecuting."

Saul, asked, "What shall I do, Lord?", and the Lord answered, "Get up and go into Damascus, and there thou shalt be told of all that thou art destined to do."

In that moment, Saul's whole previous life had been shattered, and he had been converted to Christianity.

He was led into Damascus, as he had been blinded by the brilliant light of the Lord, and taken to a certain house where Ananias found him. Ananias had been previously visited by the Lord, and told what to do. He restored Saul's eyesight and baptised him.

After some years of reflection in the desert of Arabia, and study back in Jerusalem with Peter, he began his missionary journeys. In trying to convert people from the old religion of Judaism, he was often howled down, and persecuted and in some cases imprisoned. During the persecution by Emperor Nero, about the year 67AD he was beheaded in Rome.

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