St. Paul was born Saul in Tarsus, Cilicia. He was a descendent of the tribe of Benjamin, and a Roman citizen from birth. The Gospels list him as a “young man” when Stephen was stoned, and an “old man” when he wrote to Philemon near the year 63, he was likely born around the beginning of the Christian era.

Saul completed his education in Jerusalem, learning the ancestral law and the practice of disputation. As a zealous Pharisee, he returned to Tarsus before Christ took his ministry public. The Gospels recount how he went from being one of the greatest enemies of Christianity to one of the greatest disciples. Before his conversion, Saul took part in a violent persecution, traveling to Damascus to punish all Jews who believed in Jesus Christ.

On the way to Damascus, God struck Saul to the ground, and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” Saul asked who he was, and God responded, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

In Damascus, a Christian man named Ananius received a vision from Christ, who commanded him to go to Saul. Ananias knew of Saul’s reputation, but did as Christ had asked. He found Saul, who was converted, and took up the name Paul to begin his mission for Jesus Christ. He traveled throughout Rome, preaching the faith and converting many. St. Paul died as a martyr around the year 65 AD.