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St. Paul’s “road to Damascus moment” captured in art

CONVERSION OF ST PAUL
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Saul’s bolt-of-lightning conversion from persecutor of Christians to St. Paul, the great missionary, as portrayed by great artists.

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When we think of the conversion of Saul, the persecutor of Christians, to St. Paul the Apostle and great missionary, we usually picture Paul getting knocked off his horse by a lightening bolt — thanks to Caravaggio’s famous painting, “The Conversion of Saint Paul.”

Caravaggio and other artists who have depicted the scene were exercising a bit of artistic freedom in using this powerful image, as nowhere in the Bible does it mention that Paul was riding on a horse when he was struck blind on the way to Damascus.

The Bible does tells us that while he was on his way to “find any men or women who belonged to the Way,” in order to “bring them back to Jerusalem in chains,” Paul saw a flash of light (Acts, Chapter 9):

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”

Click on the slideshow below to see how Paul’s “Road to Damascus” moment has been expressed in art.

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