About St. Paul
As the first Coptic Orthodox Church to be established inside the United States for the primary purpose of evangelism, outreach and mission work, the choice of the name was straight forward. Starting from Jerusalem and reaching to Rome, St. Paul has played a key role in the transformation of Christianity from what the pre-Christian world may have dismissed as just another religious sect, to a worldwide movement that changed the world forever. We simply dream of carrying on with his mission to the post-Christian society that we live in by simply starting from our door steps in our city of Chicago.
Here is a short synopsis of his life story and his missionary journeys as narrated in the bible:
The name sounds familiar, but who is St. Paul? What is he famous for? Before St. Paul became a Christian, his name was Saul, which means, “Asked For.” Prior to 32 AD, St. Paul, which means, “Little,” was born in Tarsus; he was a Jew who had a Roman citizenship. He was a Pharisee, and his job was to persecute the disciples of Jesus Christ and the Christians. He converted to Christianity on his way to Damascus when suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate not drank.
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. St. Paul went on three missionary journeys and wrote 14 Epistles in the Bible. St. Paul was beheaded in Rome around mid 60’s AD, during the reign of Nero. May his prayers and intercessions be with us all. Amen.