FRIDAY, JANUARY 25: East and West come together today for the Christian Conversion of Paul the Apostle, an event depicted in the Bible and illustrated in countless works of art. Although not one of the original 12 chosen by Jesus in the Gospels, Paul called himself “the Apostle to the Gentiles,” having described a personal experience with Jesus after Jesus’s resurrection. (Wikipedia has details.)
As Christians retell Paul’s story: They recall his origins as Saul of Tarsus, an enemy of the emerging Christian movement who actively persecuted members of the new church. Then, as described in the book of Acts Chapter 9, he had a miraculous encounter with the risen Christ while on his way to Damascus, when he experienced a blinding light and was greeted by a divine voice.
WHEN IN ROME
Paul’s conversion has been depicted by many artists, although Caravaggio and Michelangelo represent two of the most famous. Today, Caravaggio’s interpretation rests at the Santa Maria del Popolo while Michelangelo’s lies in Cappella Paolina, in the Vatican Palace. Travel experts encourage visitors to head to Rome right now—during the winter months—as accomodations are inexpensive and museums are far less crowded than in warmer months. (Read more in the Telegraph.)
CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK CLOSES
For most Christians, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle duly marks the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an Octave celebration observed since 1908.