A Garner of Saints – Saint Paul the Apostle

detail of a stained glass window in the church of Saint-Theudère in Saint-Chef, Darstellung, France; 1912 by A F Bernard of Grenoble; photographed on 6 September 2011 by ReinhardhaukeArticle

After many adventures by land and sea, Paul went to Rome, and, preaching there, converted many, including those of Caesar’s household. Being dismissed by Nero, he preached in the west, but afterwards returned to Rome. One day, as Paul was preaching in an upper room about vespers, a youth named Patroclus, Nero’s butler, went up to a window to listen to him, and becoming drowsy he fell out of the window and was killed. Nero, who loved the youth, was much grieved, but Paul caused the body to be brought to him, raised the youth to life and restored him to Caesar. Nero was at first afraid to see him, but at length sent for him and, when questioned, the youth replied that he had been raised by Christ, who was the king of all, who would destroy all earthly kingdoms and reign alone; at the same time as Patroclus four other soldiers declared themselves to be Christians. Then Nero gave orders that all the Christians should be imprisoned and tortured. Paul was brought bound before him, and Nero, declaring that he had set all the world on fire, ordered that he should be beheaded as a traitor. But, as the emperor was causing many Roman Christians to be slain, Paul came furiously to the palace and began to cry out against Caesar, who became afraid and gave orders that no one should touch the Christians until they had been judged. Paul, however, was led away, and as he was going he converted the three soldiers who conducted him. A woman named Plautilla, one of Paul’s converts, placed herself in the way in order to see him for the last time. As she wept, Paul begged her to give him her veil to bind his eyes with, saying that he would return it to her after his death. The soldiers mocked at this and led him on to execution. After he had prayed he bound his eyes with the veil and received the death stroke. The severed head gave three leaps, and at each place where it alighted a fountain sprang up, while the body emitted a strong light and a most fragrant odour. On their return Plautilla showed the soldiers the bloody veil, saying that Peter and Paul had entered the city in shining raiment with crowns on their heads, and that Paul had restored the veil as he promised. And behold Paul stood before Caesar though the doors were closed, and asserted that he was living, but that Nero was condemned to everA lasting death. The emperor, in a state of terror, commanded that all the Christians who were in prison should be released. The head of Paul was thrown into a valley, but was found by a shepherd who had seen it shining for three successive nights. He told this to the Christians who came out in a body with their pope. And when they had placed the severed head against the body, the body turned and the head joined itself on to it to the wonder of them all. And they blessed God, recognising that it was truly the apostle’s head. 29th June.


  • The sword. The representations of Paul’s head are traditional, he is shown with a high forehead, bald head and long straight beard.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Paul the Apostle”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 April 2017. Web. 21 September 2018. <>