The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Paul was not one of the Twelve Apostles, but became an apostle after the Ascension of Jesus Christ, being converted by him directly while on the road to Damascus. The Church remembers St. Paul on June 29.
St. Paul was born in Tarsus of the tribe of Benjamin and was given the name Saul. He, like the Apostle Barnabas, studied under Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee and persecutor of Christians. He was present at the stoning of St Stephen (Acts 7: 58). Miraculously converted to the True Faith by Jesus Himself on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-22), St. Paul was named and numbered among the Apostles. After his baptism by the Apostle Ananias, St. Paul preached the Gospel from Arabia to Spain and to both Jews and Gentiles. He was called the "Apostle to the Gentiles." Paul spent his new life in suffering and labor for Christ, establishing and organizing churches everywhere. He reached such a state of perfection that he was able to say to the Church at Galatia: not I, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
The account of Paul's missionary journeys and the letters he wrote to the Churches he founded, form an important part of the New Testament. St. Paul was martyred with the Apostle Peter under Nero by beheading.
The Church has canonized several of his epistles to the churches, including:
- I & II Corinthians
- I & II Thessalonians
- I & II Timothy
Modern scholarship has contested the authenticity of several of these letters. Hebrews in particular, whose authorship was disputed even in the early church, was most likely not written by St. Paul. However, the Church lectionary introduces readings from each of these epistles as "from the epistle of St. Paul to..."