About Our Patron
Paul, known also as Saul, was born in the early years of the Christian era in the town of Tarsus in the then Roman Province of Cilicia (in modern Turkey). He received excellent education at Jerusalem as he had the privilege of studying ‘at the feet of Gamaliel’, the most famous Jewish scholar and rabbi of his time, and became a renowned scholar himself. He was a zealous member of the Pharisees, the strict followers of Jewish religion, who meticulously followed all that was prescribed by the Law. Because of his love for his religion, he assumed a leading role in the persecution of the Christians, who he thought were following a wrong path. While on a journey from Jerusalem in Palestine to Damascus in Syria, with an order to persecute the Christians there, he had a vision of the Risen Christ.
This meeting with the Risen Christ changed forever the life and mission of Saul as he became enlightened and convinced that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. Thus, Saul became Paul. He, therefore, renounced his former religion, stopped persecuting Christians, became an ardent follower of Christ and committed himself wholly to proclaiming his new-found faith in Jesus Christ. He then undertook many long and difficult journeys to announce the Good News about Jesus Christ, so that as many people as possible could benefit from his experience and knowledge of Christ. Thus, he became the greatest Christian missionary.
Although Paul had to endure a lot of hardships and rejection from his own people, his commitment to the cause of Christ and enthusiasm to proclaim the Good News about Jesus Christ remained undiminished till the very end of his life. He was beheaded in Rome in the mid-60s during the reign of Emperor Nero, and became a martyr for Christ. Thus, Saint Paul, our patron, stands as a symbol of great scholarship, enlightenment and total commitment.
The extraordinary event of Paul meeting the Risen Christ on his way to Damascus, resulting in his conversion from being a Jew to being a follower of Christ, is commemorated on January 25th every year, and we, at SPIPS, celebrate this day as the Feast Day of our heavenly patron.May our heavenly patron intercede for us!