JUBILEE CULTURAL ROUTES

TRAVELLING TOWARDS ROME. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL

You are along the route: TRAVELLING TOWARDS ROME. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL

Tappe del percorso

You can appreciate the places suggested for this journey in any day of the week.

Saul, a Roman citizen of Jewish religion, was born in Tarsus, a city now belonging to Turkey, from a wealthy family of textile merchants. An observant Pharisee, he was a tenacious opponent of the Cristian religion until one day, while travelling to Damascus, in Syria, he was blinded by a vision in the desert and saw Jesus, who told him: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” From that moment, under the name of Paul, he became a tenacious preacher of the Gospel, restlessly travelling the many roads of the Roman Empire. In 59 AD he was arrested in Jerusalem under the accusation of raising turmoil. Enforcing his right as a Roman citizen, he demanded to be judged by the emperor and was then brought to the Capital. After landing in Malta after a shipwreck, he finally reached Pozzuoli and travelled from there to Rome along the Appia Way. During this journey he stopped in Forum Apii and Tres Tabernae, where some Roman Christian came to meet him and console him. Once in Rome, he was shortly detained in a sort of mild imprisonment, which however did not held him from preaching, writing or meeting other believers.
Between 64 and 67 AD, however, Christians had to face the harsh persecutions by the emperor Nero. Paul was arrested, probably imprisoned in the Mamertin Prison together with Saint Peter, and, finally, beheaded in a place south from Rome, called Acquae Salviae. Although his roman citizenship could not save his life, it spared him, however, the more painful and humiliating death by crucifixion that was, instead, reserved to Peter. Paul’s head, bouncing on the ground three times, created three water springs as a last miracle. He was then buried in an humble tomb in the necropolis of the “via Ostiense”: the same place where, many years later, the majestic Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls was built to celebrate him.
Walking along the Appia Antica, in a charming landscape amidst archaeological landmarks, it is still possible to follow the same route Saint Paul walked on his way to Rome, at a time when he was still ignorant of the fate that awaited him there.

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