Who was St. Paul?
Saul was a Jewish Talmudic student, a Pharisee, and a tent-maker by trade. Saul hated and persecuted Christians as heretical, even assisting at the stoning of Saint Stephen the Martyr. One day, on his way to Damascus to arrest another group of them, he was knocked to the ground, struck blind by a heavenly light, and given the message that in persecuting Christians, he was persecuting Christ. The experience had a profound spiritual effect on him, causing his conversion to Christianity. He was baptized, changed his name to Paul to reflect his new persona, and began traveling and preaching. Paul wrote or inspired many of the letters that were later collected in the New Testament.