Saint Paul

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Paul, Saint,

d. A.D. 64? or 67?, the apostle to the Gentiles, b. Tarsus, Asia Minor. He was a Jew. His father was a Roman citizen, probably of some means, and Paul was a tentmaker by trade. His Jewish name was Saul. He was educated in Jerusalem, where he studied under GamalielGamaliel
. 1 In the Bible, Manassite chief. 2 In the New Testament, president of the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem; teacher of St. Paul. He was also known as Gamaliel I, or Gamaliel the Elder.
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 and became a zealous nationalist; he was probably a Pharisee. The chronology of St. Paul's life is difficult, but there is general agreement (within a few years) on almost all details. The hypothetical dates given here are according to one chronological system.

The sources for St. Paul's life are the Acts of the Apostles, in which he is the dominant figure, and the Pauline Epistles. The value of the latter depends on the extent to which they are accepted as genuinely written by the apostle. Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon are undoubted; Ephesians and Second Thessalonians are rejected by most critics; First and Second Timothy and Titus are generally considered to be in their present form later and non-Pauline; finally, Hebrews was not written by St. Paul himself.

Paul's first known contact with Christianity is his presence at the martyrdom of St. StephenStephen, Saint,
d. A.D. 36?, first Christian martyr, stoned at Jerusalem. He was one of the seven deacons. Accused of blasphemy, he was brought before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.
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. Soon after this he got a commission from the chief priest to go to Damascus to help suppress Christianity there (A.D. 33). As he approached Damascus he suddenly saw a blinding light and heard Jesus ask, "Why persecutest thou me?" Paul was temporarily blinded and was led into Damascus, where he was found (on the Lord's direction) by the disciple Ananias. On regaining his sight, Paul was baptized and immediately began preaching. (Acts 8.1–3; 9.1–30; 22.3–21; 26.9–23; Gal. 1.12–15.)

Paul spent the next 13 years learning the faith, part of the time living in seclusion in the Arabian desert. He visited Jerusalem probably twice (A.D. 37, 44) and dwelt at Tarsus and Antioch for some time. (Acts 11.) From Antioch, Paul set out on his first missionary journey (Acts 13–14.27; A.D. 47–49), on which he was accompanied by St. BarnabasBarnabas, Saint
, Christian apostle. He was a Cypriot and a relative of St. Mark; his forename was Joseph. Several passages in the New Testament relate that Barnabas was a teacher and prophet in the church at Antioch and the companion of St. Paul on his first missionary journey.
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 and for a time by St. MarkMark, Saint
[Lat. Marcus], Christian apostle, traditional author of the 2d Gospel (see Mark, Gospel according to). His full name was John Mark. His mother, named Mary, had a house in Jerusalem, which the Christians used as a meeting place. Mark accompanied St. Paul and St.
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. In general the method was to go from city to city preaching in synagogues and in marketplaces. Among the stops on this first mission were Cyprus, Antioch, and Derbe. Churches were set up, and as soon as the little Christian groups seemed strong enough the apostle and his companions would move on. Among their stops were Cyprus, Pamphylia, and Derbe. About A.D. 50 there was a council of the apostles at Jerusalem to discuss whether Gentile Christians should be circumcised, i.e., whether Christianity was to be a Jewish sect. St. Paul opposed the Judaistic group vigorously, and the council decided against them. (Acts 15; Gal. 2.)

On his second mission (Acts 15.36–18.22; A.D. 50–53) Paul, having quarreled with Barnabas, was accompanied by SilasSilas
, in the Acts of the Apostles, early Christian leader and companion of Paul on two missionary journeys. Probably he is the Silvanus mentioned frequently in the Letters.
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. During visits to Philippi and Salonica they founded two churches that were to become great. They later sailed to Athens where Paul delivered his famous address on the "unknown god" in the market. (Acts 17.16–34.) From Athens, Paul went to Corinth. In the course of a long stay there he wrote First and Second Thessalonians (A.D. 52). Possibly about this time he also wrote his letter to the Galatians, although some scholars think this was the earliest of the epistles (written from Antioch), while others believe it was written later from Ephesus. At length Paul sailed to Caesarea in Palestine and visited Jerusalem again. He spent some time in Antioch.

The third missionary journey of St. Paul (Acts 18.23–21.26; A.D. 53–57) took him to Galatia, then Phrygia, and over to Ephesus. His two-and-a-half-year stay in Ephesus was one of the most fruitful periods of his life; in this time he wrote his two letters to the Corinthians (c.A.D. 56). He went to Corinth to help the Christians there, and he probably wrote the Epistle to the Romans there. Thence he returned to Ephesus and finally to Jerusalem. This was his last visit there (A.D. 57–59), for soon after he arrived he was arrested for provoking a riot.

After being held prisoner for two years and after hearings before the council of priests, before the Roman procurator Felix and his successor Festus, before Herod Agrippa II, and again before Festus, he appealed to Rome on his citizen's right. So he was sent to Rome under guard. (Acts 21.27–28.31.) On the way they were shipwrecked on Malta but finally landed at Puteoli (Puzzuoli). Paul was imprisoned (A.D. 60) in Rome but was allowed to conduct his ministry among the Roman Christians and Jews who visited him. Of his final fate tradition says that he was beheaded south of the city, near the Ostian Way, probably during the persecution of NeroNero
(Nero Claudius Caesar) , A.D. 37–A.D. 68, Roman emperor (A.D. 54–A.D. 68). He was originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and was the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul in A.D.
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. A lesser tradition claims that Paul was released after his first imprisonment and that he went East again, and perhaps also to Spain, before his martyrdom. Some scholars believe that Paul was executed after his initial imprisonment, probably A.D. 62. St. Paul's tomb and shrine are at the Roman basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls.

St. Paul's figure dominates the apostolic age, and his epistles have left a tremendous impress on Christianity. The first Christian theological writing is found in them, where it is characterized rather by spiritual fervor than by systematic analysis. St. Paul became a fountainhead of Christian doctrine, and countless interpretations have been given of his teachings. Thus, Roman Catholic theology leans upon him at all times, and Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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 derived from the Epistle to the Romans his principle of justification by faith alone. There can be no doubt that Paul's interpretation of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, his doctrine of the church as the mystical body of Christ, his teaching on law and grace, and his view of justification have been decisive in the formation of the Christian faith. The feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, June 29, is one of the principal days of the church calendar; the conversion of St. Paul is commemorated Jan. 25.


See D. R. McDonald, The Legend and the Apostle (1983); J. A. Ziesler, Pauline Christianity (1990); E. P. Sanders, Paul (1991); B. Chilton, Rabbi Paul: An Intellectual Biography (2004); J. Murphy-O'Connor, Paul: His Story (2004); G. Wills, What Paul Meant (2006).

Saint Paul,

city (1990 pop. 272,235), state capital and seat of Ramsey co., E Minn., on bluffs along the Mississippi River, contiguous with Minneapolis, forming the Twin Cities metropolitan area; inc. 1854. A port of entry at a great bend in the Mississippi and a railroad hub, St. Paul is also an industrial, commercial, and financial center. It shares an international airport with Minneapolis. Among the city's diverse manufactures are electrical, construction, and medical equipment; sheet metal; paper and plastic products; storage tanks; food; motor vehicles; and consumer goods. Other industries include oil refining and printing and publishing.

Landmarks and Institutions

Like many of the upper Mississippi River towns, St. Paul's oldest streets are narrow and crooked, conforming to the hills and to the river frontage. Many modern downtown buildings are interconnected by enclosed skywalks. Several fine parks (the largest of which are Como and Phalen) and many lakes (over 900 in the general metropolitan area), public beaches, and nearby ski areas provide recreational facilities. A Native American mounds park is there. An annual Winter Carnival is held in the city, and the state fairgrounds are in the Midway district, between St. Paul and Minneapolis. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild plays in St. Paul.

The capitol, completed in 1904 and designed by Cass GilbertGilbert, Cass,
1859–1934, American architect, b. Zanesville, Ohio, studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Europe. In 1880 he entered the employ of McKim, Mead, and White, New York City, and three years later opened his own office in St. Paul, Minn.
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, was modeled after St. Peter's in Rome. Near the capitol are the Cathedral of St. Paul; the state historical society building, containing a museum and library; and the St. Paul Arts and Science Center. In the concourse of the city hall and county courthouse (1932) is a notable peace monument. Other points of interest in the area are Fort Snelling State Park and the Sibley House Museum (1835), home of the first territorial governor.

St. Paul has a notable chamber orchestra and opera company (both at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts), a conservatory, and several musical theaters. The city's many educational institutions include Bethel Univ., the College of St. Catherine, Concordia Univ., Hamline Univ., Macalester College, the Univ. of St. Thomas, the William Mitchell College of Law, several theological seminaries, and a branch of the Univ. of Minnesota.


A fur-trading post was established (early 1800s) at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in what is now the historic village of Mendota (6 mi/9.7 km SW of St. Paul), and Fort Snelling was built there. Traders, missionaries, and explorers were the first inhabitants; settlers came from the east after treaties with the Native Americans officially opened the area to farming and lumbering. By 1823 the landing at the head of navigation on the Mississippi was an important debarkation point and trading port. In 1841, Father Galtier established St. Paul Church, from which the city (platted along the river in 1846) took its name. St. Paul became territorial capital in 1849 and state capital when Minnesota was admitted to the Union in 1858. It was a booming river port and transportation center, especially after the arrival of the railroad in 1862. Later it became the center of the railroad empire of James J. HillHill, James Jerome,
1838–1916, American railroad builder, b. Ontario, Canada. He went to St. Paul, Minn., in 1856. He became a partner of Norman Kittson in a steamboat line and, with Kittson, Donald Alexander Smith (later Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal), and George
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See V. B. Kunz, St. Paul (1986); R. T. Smith, Minneapolis–St. Paul (1988).

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St. Paul told of many visions he experienced during the night, which some interpreters have considered to mean that he was dreaming. (Statue of St. Paul at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City).

Saint Paul


After Jesus died, the apostle Paul was to have three visits from him in visions. Paul was born a Roman citizen, the son of wealthy Jewish parents, and his Hebrew name was Saul. He lived in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia, north of Palestine, and was sent to Jerusalem to be educated by the Rabbi Gamaliel. Paul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, was a very effective agent in the efforts to suppress Christianity. He went to the high priest in Jerusalem to request a letter addressed to synagogues in Damascus, requiring their cooperation in the persecution of Christians. It was during a trip to Damascus on a mission to suppress Christianity that he had his famous vision:

On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the gods. (Acts 26:12–14)

When Paul asked, “Who are you?” the voice said that he was Jesus, whom Saul was persecuting. Then the Lord said,

I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:16–18)

When Paul got up from the ground, he discovered that he was blind, and he was not able to see for three days. He had previously received a vision of Ananias, a certain devout disciple in Damascus: “In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight” (Acts 9:12). After this, God appeared to Ananias and instructed him about his role in fulfilling the vision given to Paul. Ananias went to Paul’s house, laid hands on him, and Paul’s sight was restored. Then Paul arose, was baptized, and went into the synagogues proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God. Both of these visions were received in the waking state. Other communications that Scripture refers to as visions were received “during the night,” which indicates that they were dreams.

Many years passed before Paul had another vision. He was on a missionary journey and during the night had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:9). After this dream vision, the apostles concluded that God had called them to preach the gospel in Macedonia.

The next vision occurred to Paul in Corinth, which at that time was the capital of Greece, and where his life happened to be in danger because he was able to convert the chief of the synagogue to Christianity. Here it is again clear that his night visions are dream messages from God:

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9)

This dream vision encouraged Paul and prevented him from leaving Corinth.

Paul’s final dream vision was a message from Jesus in which he encouraged Paul to “take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11). This vision assured Paul that he had not yet finished his work, and helped him decide to go to Rome.

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Saint Paul

a port in SE Minnesota, capital of the state, at the head of navigation of the Mississippi: now contiguous with Minneapolis (the Twin Cities). Pop.: 280 404 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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