Beheading of the Apostle Paul
ON THIS DAY, 29 June 67, a Roman soldier beheaded the apostle Paul in Rome.*
* This date is according to the People’s Chronology. Scholars are disagreed as to date
and have placed it anywhere between 62 and 67 A.D.
In truth, however, we know absolutely nothing about the fate of Paul; plenty of rumours but not one fact.
For example, in Romans 15:22-25 Paul says that he intends to travel to Spain with a stopover in Rome but
first he is going to Jerusalem - and that's the last we hear from the man himself.
Later the author of Acts 28:30-31 says that Paul did, eventually, get to Rome where he preached the gospel
for two years - and that's where that story ends.
It is not until 96AD that we get our first hint of Paul's fate but even then, we are still left pretty much in the dark:
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Clement of Rome said about Paul
Having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached
the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony
before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the
holy place. (1 Clement 5:6)
In 96AD, therefore, it would seem that Christians like Clement had no stories about Paul being executed in Rome
and they believed, instead, that he had headed off into the west (maybe as far as Spain) and eventually died
there at an unknown time?
It wasn't until the second century AD when Christians like Ignatius of Antioch began declaring that Paul had been
executed in Rome in the mid to late 60s of the 1st century AD, but even then, not all Christians were convinced.
Hundreds of years later men like Chrysostom and Cyril of Jerusalem were still saying that Paul had safely made it
to Spain where he preached the gospel for many years:
26. With this Holy Spirit Paul also had been filled after his calling by
our Lord Jesus Christ [...] And straightway the Spirit's mighty working
changed the blindness of Paul's eyes into newness of sight; and having
vouchsafed His seal unto his soul, made him a chosen vessel to bear
the name of the Lord who had appeared to him, before kings and the
children of Israel, and rendered the former persecutor an ambassador
and good servant, - one, who from Jerusalem, and even unto Illyricum,
fully preached the Gospel, and instructed even imperial Rome, and
carried the earnestness of his preaching as far as Spain, undergoing
conflicts innumerable, and performing signs and wonders.
(scroll down to paragraph 26)