The Chapel of St Paul
St Paul, together with St Peter, founded the Church at Rome. As a young man he was a ruthless
persecutor of the Christian faith. After his conversion, he became the great missionary apostle of
the young church. His work and his journeys are described in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the letters he wrote to the Christian communities around the Mediterranean.
St Paul was a tent-maker, and the ciling of the chapel is decorated to represent a tent. One the
back wall is portrayed the story of his conversion. Travelling from Jerusalem (on the right) to
Damascus (on the left), Paul is blinded by a great light, and is addressed by Christ. Beneath the
scene the Latin inscription records Christ's words: "Get up, and go into the city, and you will be
told what to do"(Acts 9:6).
On the right hand on the chapel Paul is shown shipwrecked on Malta (in Latin, MELITA). The
mosiac over the arch opposite represents the riddle of Samson (Judges 14:14): bees around the
head of a lion represent sweetness coming forth from strenth (in Latin DE FORTI EGRESSA EST DULCEDO), a reference to Paul's good works folling his former bitterness towards
Over the altar, Paul is shown with his traditional sword - a symbol of both his eloquence in
preaching the Word of God, and of his death. The marble behind the altar comes from Athens,
where Paul himself preached (Acts 17:15). Above Christ is depicted with St Peter and St Paul,
and the Latin inscription translates "The Lord gives us the Law".
The floor of the chapel is in the style of the Cosmati brothers, who worked in Italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centures. It recalls the magnificent Cosmati pavement of Westminster Abbey.
In this Chapel we pray for those who seek Christian belief, as well as those who spread the gospel, and all those persecuted for their faith.
Lord, through the prayers of St Paul Help us to spread the Gospel in our
words and deeds. Be with all those who suffer for what they believe;
Strethen their hope, and comfort them in their suffering.