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The Apostle Saint Paul

Jul 11, 2020

Saint Paul was a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; and his kinsfolk called his name “Saul,” the well-known interpretation of which is, “given.”  He was a young man of handsome appearance, upright in stature, and ruddy, like the rind of a pomegranate.  His face was open, his nose was large, above his eyes was kohl, his cheeks were [like] an open rose, and his beard was full.  He was learned in the Law of the Torah, and he was jealous for the same.

  And the disciples, who believed through the holy Apostles, were exceedingly afraid of him, because he had received authority from the high priest, who wrote to him an order, with his own hand, commanding him to bind with fetters all those who preached in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And as Saul and those who were with him were journeying along the road from the city of Jerusalem to the city of Damascus, a light from heaven shone upon him, and he fell upon his face on the ground, and he heard a voice which said unto him, “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute Me?  It is bad for thee to kick against sharp goads.”  And he said unto Him, “Who art thou, Lord?”  And He answered and said unto him, “I am that Jesus, the Nazarene, Whom thou persecutest.  But rise up, and come into the city of Damascus, and there they will tell thee what thou must do.”  And the men of Jerusalem who were with him stood up, and they heard His voice but there was none whom they saw.  And Saul rose up from the earth, and though his eyes were open he saw nothing, and leading him they brought him to Damascus, where he remained for three days, not eating, not drinking, and not seeing. 

And there was a certain man in the city of Damascus, who was one of the holy apostles and whose name was Hananya (Ananias), and our Lord appeared unto him and said unto him, “Hananya (Ananias),” and he said, “Behold me, my Lord.”  And the Lord said unto him, “Rise up, and go to the street which is called ‘Straight’ and enquire there in the house of Sayda [for a man] whose name is Saul, of the city of Tarsus.”  And Hananya (Ananias) said unto Him, “My Lord, I have heard about that man and of all the evil which he hath done to the saints of Jerusalem, and having obtained authority from the high-priest, he hath come hither to imprison all those who bear Thy Name.”  And our Lord said unto him, “I have set him to be a chosen vessel for Me, and he shall go and carry My Name among the peoples and kings of Israel.  And I will show him how great things he must suffer for My Name.”  And Saint Hananya (Ananias) went and came to his house, and found him praying, and he laid his hand upon him, and he prayed over him that he might see.  And he said unto him, “Saul, my brother, my Lord Jesus Christ, Who appeared unto thee on the road as thou camest hither, hath sent me unto thee that thou mayest see, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And straightway there went out of Paul’s eyes as it were scales, and he could see, and he rose up, and was baptized, and ate food, and became strong; and he remained in Damascus a few days with the holy apostles, and preached in their Synagogues.  And he taught concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, saying, “He is the Son of God,” and all those who heard him marveled, saying, “Is not this the man who killed those who were called by this name in Jerusalem and here also?”  And this Saint Paul the apostle was filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit Paraclete, and he proclaimed boldly the Faith of righteousness.  And his jealously for the Law of our Lord Jesus Christ was double that which he had had for the Law of the Torah.  And he went unto all the ends of the world, and preached the Name of our Lord Who was crucified, and a multitude of people who could not be numbered believed through him.  And great tribulation came [upon him], and many beatings.  And the Jews shut him up in prison, and bound him with fetters, and sunk him in the sea, and took him into deserts, and tortured him with every king of torture.  And behold, it is written in his Epistles, and in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, saying, “The Holy Spirit separated Saul and Barnabas for the work which He required of them”

And for this reason they went into the land of the Greeks and performed many miracles, some of them took place when they went round the island of Kuela.   And they came to a city, the name of which is Yafus (Paphos), and they found a certain Jewish magician whose name was Elymas, who withstood them, and wished to keep the deputy of the city from them and from the Faith.  And Saint Paul rebuked him and said unto him, “Behold, the hand of God is upon thee.  Thou shalt become blind, and shalt not see the sun until the time when the appointed time shall have come”; and straightway the eyes of Elymas clouded over, and became sightless, and he enquired for some one to lead him.  And when the governor of the city saw him, he marveled and believed in God.  And then they went to the district of Lukanya (Lycania) and Lestran (Lystra), and Darben (Derbe), and taught there.  And there was in the city of Lestran (Lystra) a certain man with twisted feet, and he was born thus from his mother’s womb, and he had never walked; and he heard Saint Paul speaking.  And Saint Paul knew that the man had in him the faith whereby he would be healed, and he said unto him, “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ rise up and stand upon thy feet”; and straightway he rose up and walked, and when the people saw him they believed.  And whilst he was there, certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and stoned the blessed Saint Paul, and they dragged him outside the city, for they thought that he was dead.  And on the following day, when Saint Barnabas was near the city, he appointed a priest to each of the churches there.  And then he went to Phrygia and Galatia and on towards Tiro’ada (Troad), and they passed over into Macedonia.  And they found there a girl who was under the power of a demon, and she brought to her owners her earnings, which were much, and she followed after them crying out and saying, “These servants of God shall teach us the way of life”; and she pressed upon Saint Paul.  And Saint Paul turned, and rebuked the unclean spirit, which was on her, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the girl was healed.  And after this he went out to the city of Halab, and he made to live the mother of Timothy, whose name was Badreman, who had been dead.  There the people wished him to sacrifice to the god of the city, [but he refused to do so].  And they cast him into a furnace, and he stretched out his arms in the form of the Cross, and the men of the city saw the sign of the Cross with their own eyes; and they entreated him to come out, and he went forth, being injured in no wise, and they prostrated themselves before him.  And all the people believed through them, and even Anestus, the governor of the city, believed; and the priests of the seventy idols fled and hid themselves.

And Saint Paul called the figure of gold, which was in the form of a guza, and it came and stood up in the form of a lion in the middle of the temple.  And Saint Paul said unto it, “Where are the priests who worship thee?”  And the lion answered and said unto him, “Wait, O my lord, until I am able to tell thee where they are.”  And the lion went to where they were hidden, and brought out one of the priests, holding him by is neck, which was in his mouth, and he dragged him along like a dead man, and cast him down among the people; and thus he did to the seventy of them.  And when the people saw [this] they wanted to kill the priests.  And Saint Paul said, “This day life and not death is seemly in this city,” and he baptized them all.  And he said unto the image of the guza, which was a lion, “Fear not, O lion, because thou hast ministered unto me, thy existence shall be in the desert until I want thee”; and he dwelt in the desert of the lion.  And Saint Paul went ... and came into the city.  And the Jews heard of the report of him, and they gathered together against him, and seized him, and tortured him.  And they also brought two oxen, and they lifted up the feet of Saint Paul, and tied him between two oxen, with ‘Antekos his disciple, and they dragged them through the streets of the city, over the sharp stones, until their blood flowed like water, and their bodies were torn and cut, and their bones were visible. 

And the disciples prayed to God, and the two oxen, and the man who was driving them, turned into stone in the midst of the city, where they stood still, and they are there until this day.  And the people having seen this told the governor, and he became wroth, and commanded the soldiers to bring them before him, and they brought them, [the people] stoning them as they did so.  And the governor was wroth with Saint Paul, and he said unto him, “O man, behold, I will torture thee.”  And he commanded them to bring two brass bulls, and they brought bitumen, and pitch, and sulfur, and fat and mixed them together, and they smeared the outside and the inside of the two brass bulls therewith, and they cast the disciples into them.  Then they took them into a furnace, and they lighted a fire therein, and kept it burning for three days and three nights.  And our Lord Jesus Christ came, with His angels, and He made the furnace to move from its place into the grounds of the offices of the government, and the flames blew backwards, and consumed the men of the city.  And a voice from heaven called those who remained, and bade them to gather together to the furnace .  And the lion, which Paul had sent into the desert, came and cried out with [his] voice, saying, “Believe ye in the Lord Jesus Christ, [the God] of Saint Paul.”  And the lion came back, and said unto Saint Paul and Sekantes, “Get forth from the fire, so that the men of this city may not know”; and they went forth from the red-hot furnace alive, and the hair of their heads was not singed, and there was no smell of fire upon them.  And straightway all the people cried out, saying, “We believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Nazarene,” and Paul baptized them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  And he made Sekantes a priest, and having built there a church, he departed to the city of Athens. 

Then he went to other cities with Saint Philip the apostle and preached therein, and the elders of the city seized them, and bound them hand and foot, and put chains about their necks, and they made iron helmets to put over their heads.  And they also made figures of the hand, with palms and fingers of iron, and they thrust them over their hands and along their arms, until each hand and arm was covered with iron, and then they drove nails through them.  And they also made figures of the shoulders in iron, which reached up to the neck and they drove nails into them, back and front; and they made plates of iron to envelop their limbs and to cover their bodies in such a way that no part of the body was visible.  And they nailed plates of iron over their sides, and they made shoes of iron for their feet, and they drove nails through their hands, and the soles of their feet, and their thighs; and they made plates in the form of a covering.  And men who prepared roots and drugs came, and brought a talent of lead, and huge vessel of brass, and seven pound of refined fat.  And they mixed with it grease, and wax, and ox-fat, and many roots for burning in the fire, and bitumen, and pitch, and sulfur, and tar, and seven pounds of colophony resin, and glue, and clematis wood (i.e. brushwood), and charcoal, and very much wood.  And they brought bitumen, which had been prepared, and melted it in the [brass] vessel, and they daubed it on the iron plates, inside which were on the bodies of the saints, until they took the shape of their bodies.  And they poured over the iron plates, inside which were the saints, the lead which they had melted, until it reached from their feet to their heads.  And they set them up by the side of a bushy pine tree, which was five cubits high from the ground to the top thereof, and they lighted a fire about the apostles with the leaves and branches of vines from which the fruit had been plucked, and the flames rose up over their bodies.  And the apostles prayed to God, and He put mercy into the heart of one of the nobles, who said unto the soldiers. “Release them.”  And when they had released them, they removed the plates of iron form their bodies and their skin peeled off, and came away like flakes of iron, and the blood of the apostles dripped down upon the ground.  And Satan entered into the hearts of the men of the city, and they put the apostles back again into the fire, but an angel came down, and extinguished the fire on them, and a bright cloud came and rained on them and enshrouded the bodies of the saints. And when the people of this city saw this, they all believed.  Now the saints were tortured by stoning and by being shot at with arrows.  [And the apostles] raised many from the dead.  And after this Saint Paul departed to another city, and preached the preaching of the Holy Gospel.  And our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and said unto him, “Peace be unto thee, O Paul, My chosen one.  Whosoever shall celebrate thy commemoration, and call upon thy name, and build a church in thy name, and shall visit the church and pray therein, and make votive offerings to it, and shall perform mercy on the day of thy commemoration in any way whatsoever, all these I will establish with thee in the kingdom of My Father, which is in the heavens.  And whosoever shall build churches in thy name, I will see that My angels have them under their protection.”  And He promised him many things, and gave him a salute with His holy mouth, and went up into heaven. 

And then they journeyed about to many cities.  And he came into the great city of Tarikon, and he  saw our Lady Mary, the mother of light, and she commanded him to teach in that city; and she told him many things, and she gave him “Peace,” and went up into heaven.  And then Saint Paul came into the city of Rome, and preached therein, and many of the men thereof believed through him, and he baptized them with holy Christian baptism; and he wrote to them twelve Epistles, and that [to the Romans] is the first of his Epistles.  And after this the Emperor Nero seized him and tortured him severely, and delivered him up that the soldiers might cut off his head.  And as he was passing along with the executioner, a certain maiden who was a kinswoman of the Emperor Nero, and who had believed through him on our Lord Jesus Christ, met him, and when she saw him with the executioner she wept.  And he comforted her, and said unto her, “Give me thy cloak, and I will return [it] to thee soon”; and she gave him her cloak.  And Saint Paul went with the executioner to the place where they cut off heads, and having bowed his head to the executioner, he covered his face with the cloak of the maiden, and the executioner cut off the holy head of Saint Paul and left it wrapped in the cloak of the maiden.  And the maiden said [to the executioner], “Where is Paul?”  And he said, “Behold, he is lying in the place where they cut off heads, and his head is covered up in thy cloak.”  And she answered and said unto him, “Thou liest.  Behold the saints Peter and Paul have this moment left me, and they were arrayed in the apparel of kings, and they had decorated crowns on their heads, and they gave me my cloak.  And behold, this is it as thou canst see”; and she showed it to the executioner, and to those who were with him, and they marveled thereat and believed on our Lord Jesus Christ.  And God wrought by the hands of Paul the apostle signs and wonders which cannot be counted; and the people used to lay the sick folk in their beds by the road on which Saint Paul passed, and when his shadow fell upon them they recovered from their sicknesses immediately.