by Pope Benedict XVI
St. Paul is one of the most important figures in Christian history. As Saul of Tarsus he vigorously persecuted Christianity, even collaborating in the death of Christianity’s first martyr, Stephen. His encounter with the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus changed Paul’s life, the Christian Church, and world history. More than anyone else in the early Church, Paul saw the universal nature of the Christian message. He became the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and the “Teacher of the Nations”. As the human author of half of the New Testament, Paul is a figure who cannot be overlooked by anyone who wants to understand Jesus Christ and Christianity.