Date: 17th century
Material: Polychromed limestone
Dimensions (cm): H 57 x W 22 x D 18
Inventory No.: MAS E 53
Sculpture representing Saint Paul, with a beard and holding a book on his hand.
Saint Paul is, after Jesus, the most important figure of the history of Christianity. We know about his life through the Acts of the Apostles and through his own writings.
Born in Tarsus, in Asia Minor, around year 10, in a Jewish family of Greek culture, as his own father, he is naturalized as a Roman citizen. In the day of his circumcision, he receives the name of Saul (Wished), in memory of the first King of Israel, but, after his conversion, in a humble attitude, he adopts the name of Paul (which means small, paulus, in Latin).
He was a persecutor of Christians and he participated in the stoning of the first martyr, the deacon Stephen.
Paul’s conversion takes place after he turns 25. After three years away, he returns to Damascus, from where he escapes from his persecutors and, later on, he goes to Jerusalem where he his accepted by the Christian community. There he meets Peter and other apostles who, at first, don’t trust him.
His mission of evangelization takes him to Asia Minor, Cyprus and to Greece in year 50, where he preaches in Athens, in the Areopagus, with no success. Finally, in year 60, he arrives to Rome.
For having definitely separated Christianity from Judaism and for having taken the Gospel to all the Greek and Roman world, Paul is considered to be the founder of the universal Church. He transformed Christ, who was the Messiah of Jewish, into the Saviour of the world; he transformed a strictly nationalist into an ecumenical religion.
During the Middle Ages, his cult conjugates with Saint Peter’s and many churches are dedicated to both saints.