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Paul was born to Jewish parents in Tarsus, Cicilia. After developing deep religious convictions in strict observance of Jewish law, he zealously persecuted the early Christians and even participated in the stoning of St. Stephen. However, while Paul traveled to Damascus to arrest prominent Christians, Jesus with His glorified body appeared and instantly converted him to Christianity.
Paul spent the next few years in relative solitude. After meeting Peter, the head of the infant Church, he plunged into tireless missionary activity and preaching. During this time he endured constant persecution, years of imprisonment and, ultimately, beheading for his beliefs and actions.
St. Paul’s zeal to provide guidance for the churches that he established resulted in his fourteen canonical Epistles or letters. Those Epistles demonstrate the strength of this powerful apostolic personality’s religious thought and continue to inspire the preaching Church today. The feast of St. Paul, the indefatigable Apostle of the Gentiles, is celebrated on 29 June.
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