St. Paul the Apostle, original name Saul of Tarsus, was born around 4 BC, and died about 62 BC in Italy. He was one of the leaders of the first generation of Christians, often considered to be the most important person after Jesus, in the history of Christianity.


In his own day, although he was a major figure within the very small Christian movement, he also had many enemies and detractors, and his contemporaries probably did not accord him as much respect as they gave other saints.


Paul was compelled to struggle, therefore, to establish his own worth and authority. His surviving letters, however, have had enormous influence on subsequent Christianity and secure his place as one of the greatest religious leaders of all time.