Saint Paul

Saint Paul

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 Gamaliel 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. Stephen. 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. Barnabas and for a time by St. Mark. 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 Silas. 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 Nero. 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 Luther 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 Gilbert, 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, opera company, 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. Hill.


See V. B. Kunz, St. Paul (1986); R. T. Smith, Minneapolis-St. Paul (1988).

Baie-Saint-Paul (2006 Population 7,288; UA population 4,545) is a city in the Province of Quebec, Canada on the northern shore of the Saint Lawrence River. Baie-Saint-Paul is the seat of Charlevoix Regional County Municipality. The name gained some prominence in the 1770s when Doctor Philippe-Louis-François Badelard named a disease he was researching the Baie-Saint-Paul malady. This illness was the subject of one of the first medical publications done in Lower Canada.

The city is situated on the delta of the Gouffret River. It is known for its art galleries, shops and restaurants.

Baie-Saint-Paul is where Cirque du Soleil originated back in 1984.

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