Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Pauline Year

Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 2008 - June 2009 ''The Year of Saint Paul'' in celebration of the 2,000th of anniversary of the saint's birth.

Saint Paul

The anniversary year formally begins on 28 June, and many pilgrims are expected to visit his church in Tarsus.

St Paul (or Paul of Tarsus) was born in Tarsus of Turkey, at the start of the Christian era, sometime between AD 7 and 10, according to church historians. Raised as a Jew named Saul in Tarsus, and later changed his name to Paul. He made three journeys through Anatolia between the years AD 47 and 57, preaching the Gospel and writing letters to the Ephesians and Galatians, before he was arrested in Jerusalem and beheaded in Rome in AD 65. After his conversion on the road to Damascus, he became one of the church's foremost evangelizers, first among Jews, then among Gentiles.

Tarsus, the largest city of Mersin in Turkey, nearly 920 kilometres (570 miles) south of Istanbul, is where the road to the first sewer in the world, the Roman way, the gate of Cleopatra, the Donuktas temples and the temple of Danial. A 12th century Saint Paul's Church is the second holiest church; the first is Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Here are my photos (and me:), taken during my visit in May 2003.
The Church as seen at the top, and the fountain below, which both bear his name.

Saint Paul's monuments in Tarsus City, Turkey


  1. Nihal, another informative post. I did not note that this was to be the year of St. Paul. I will have to read more about this.

    That is a beautiful place.

  2. Hi Nihal,

    I am a great admirer of the Apostle Paul, and I have lived in Turkey. I plan to return there in the fall or winter.

    I would love to visit Tarsus one day, and see where this giant of the Christian faith grew up. He wrote most of the New Testament portion of The Bible.

    I also added your blog to my blogroll. Lovely blog:)

  3. @ Sincerae: A warm welcome to you, and thank you for your kind comment:)
    Yes, I hope you find a good opportunity to visit Tarsus as St Paul's is impressive sight and worth a visit!

    Oh have you lived in Turkey? Great! Return back here in the fall or winter seems another 'great' idea, Smiling Big for you:) Let me remind and welcome you in advance by our timeless wisdom, a mystic poet, thinker Rumi's saying:

    ''Come, Come, Whoever you are
    come again, come again, whoever you are, come
    Wander, worshipper, lover of leaving, come.''

  4. Same to you too, Nihal.

    The world's foremost translator of Mevlana (Rumi) lives in my city of Athens, Georgia. His name is Coleman Barks, and he was one of my professor's years ago.

    I plan to return to Istanbul in the fall or winter to teach. My boyfriend is Turkish, and now that we are trying to iron out our differences (over 2 years worth of ups and downs mostly over cultural differences) and understand each other, we would like to be together permanently if we can in Turkey.

    So whoever knows what the future holds? I thought I was through with him and Turkey, but seems he and Turkey were not finished with me. Each time I leave Turkey, my Turkish friends and he never want me to leave. Turkey beckons:)