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St. Paul's Depiction in Artwork

Q. Next week we celebrate the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle (January 25). Why is he usually depicted in sacred art with a sword and a scroll or book?

A. Christian martyrs are often depicted with the instrument of their martyrdom. St. Paul holds a sword, because according to tradition, he was beheaded, and his executioners would have used a sword.

The Apostle is depicted with a scroll or book, representing Scripture, because he wrote more books of the Bible than any other single author.