Statue of St.Paul in Damascus.
Paul arrived in Jerusalem in 57 with a collection of money for the community there. Acts reports that he was warmly received. But Acts goes on to recount how he was interrogated by James for ‘teaching all the Jews living among the gentiles to forsake Moses, and that you tell them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs’. Paul underwent a purification ritual in order to give the Jews no grounds to bring accusations against him for not following their law. Paul however continued to preach that circumcision, Jewish dietary restrictions, and other requirements of the Torah were not requirements of salvation as was taught by the Jewish leaders of that time. This made a final rift inevitable with the Jews. Paul caused a stir when he appeared at the Temple, and he escaped being killed by the crowd by being taken into custody.He was held as a prisoner for two years in Caesarea until a new governor reopened his case in 59. When accused of treason, he appealed to Caesar, claiming his right as a citizen of Rome to appear there before a proper court and to defend himself of the charges.
Acts recounts that on the way to Rome Paul was shipwrecked on “Melita” where he was met by Pubulius and the islanders, who showed him “unusual kindness”. He arrived in Rome c 60 and spent two years under house arrest. All told, during his ministry Paul spent roughly 5½ to 6 years as a prisoner or in prison.
St.Paul arrested in early 1900s
Most scholars agree that a vital meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem church took place some time in the years 48 to 50, described in and usually seen as the same event mentioned by Paul in . The key question raised was whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised. At this meeting, Paul claims in his letter to the Galatians that Peter, James, and John accepted Paul’s mission to the Gentiles.
After Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, he became involved in a serious conflict with some Asian Jews. The conflict eventually led to Paul’s arrest and imprisonment in Caesarea for about a year and a half. Finally, Paul and his companions sailed for Rome where Paul was to stand trial for his alleged crimes. Acts states that Paul preached in Rome for two years from his rented home while awaiting trial. It does not state what happened after this time, but it is likely Paul was freed by Nero and continued to preach in Rome. It is possible that Paul also traveled to other countries like Spain and Britain.
Paul began his third missionary journey by traveling all around the region of Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen, teach and rebuke the believers. Paul then traveled to Ephesus, an important canter for early Christianity, and stayed there for almost 3 years. He performed numerous miracles, healing people and casting out demons, and he apparently organized missionary activity into the hinterlands. Paul left Ephesus after an attack from a local silversmith resulted in a pro-Artemis riot involving most of the city. During his stay in Ephesus, Paul wrote 4 letters to the church in Corinth admonishing them for their pagan behavior.
Paul leaves for his second missionary journey from Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49, after the meeting of the Jerusalem council where the circumcision question was debated. On their trip around the Mediterranean sea, Paul and his companion Barnabas stopped in Antioch where they had a sharp argument about taking John Mark with them on their trips. The book of Acts said that John Mark had left them in a previous trip and gone home. Unable to resolve the dispute, Paul and Barnabas decided to separate; Barnabas took John Mark with him, while Silas joined Paul.
Saint Paul delivering the Aeropagus sermon in Athens, by Raphael.