Where did Apostle Paul die?

The earliest mentions of Pauls death are the writings of Eusebius of Caesarea in his “Ecclesiastical History.”  Eusebius suggests that Apostle Paul was martyred in Rome. Eusebius refers to Paul’s execution under Emperor Nero’s persecution, recording Rome as the site of his death.

“Thus after he had made his defense it is said that the apostle was sent again upon the ministry of preaching, and that upon coming to the same city (Rome) a second time he suffered martyrdom.”  (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 2, Chapter 22).

How did Apostle Paul die?

The Biblical text does not provide explicit details concerning Paul’s death.  However, early Christian writings agree that he was martyred, likely by beheading.  A significant portion of early Christian tradition, attributes Apostle Paul’s martyrdom to the infamous Roman Emperor Nero’s persecution of Christians. Due to Paul’s significant role in the early church explosion, it seems that Emperor Nero accused Paul as being the leader of this movement and a threat to his power.

“Thus publicly announcing himself as the first among God’s chief enemies, he was led on to the slaughter of the apostles. It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself”

(Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 2, Chapter 25)

Ignatius of Antioch, an early Christian martyr himself, provides additional insights into the martyrdom of the Apostle Paul. Ignatius, in his letters to various Christian communities, suggests that Paul’s death was marked by a willingness to embrace suffering; mirroring Christ’s example (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, Chapter 4).  

Unlike Peter who was crucified upside down, Paul being a Roman Citizen avoided crucifixion due to Roman law protecting their citizens from being crucified. 

The “Acts of Paul and Thecla,” an apocryphal text from the second century, presents a contrasting narrative of Paul’s martyrdom. While not considered part of the New Testament canon, this text offers a unique perspective, depicting Paul’s miraculous escape from various forms of execution, eventually leading to his peaceful death in a supernatural light (Acts of Paul and Thecla, Chapters 1-10).

How old was the Apostle Paul when he died?

In his work “Ecclesiastical History,” Eusebius of Caesarea refers to Paul’s execution under Nero’s persecution, indicating that Paul was an “old man” at the time (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 2, Chapter 22). See how far Paul traveled during his life.
Clement of Rome in his “First Letter to the Corinthians,” describes Paul as having undergone “trials many times” and as having reached an “old age” (Clement of Rome, 1 Clement, Chapter 5).

The apocryphal “Acts of Paul and Thecla” describes Paul’s age as being “above the age of 90 years” (Acts of Paul and Thecla, Chapter 2).

Where is Apostle Paul buried?

There are 2 main christian traditions for the burial place of the Apostle Paul.  The first is a place called the Catacombs of St. Paul, and the other is in the Basilica of Saint Paul. 

However, the New Testament does not include details surrounding the death and burial of the Apostle Paul and the question of his burial place remains shrouded in uncertainty. 

The Catacombs of St. Paul

One of the most prevalent traditions in ancient church history places the burial of Apostle Paul in Rome in a place known as the Catacombs of Saint Paul. Early Christian writings allude to Paul’s execution in Rome under Emperor Nero’s persecution, suggesting that he may have been interred within the city.

The Basilica of Saint Paul

The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, situated in Rome, has been associated with the memory of Apostle Paul for centuries. This beautiful structure, founded in the 4th century, is believed to enshrine the apostle’s tomb. The church’s architecture and the presence of an ancient sarcophagus lend weight to the tradition that Paul’s remains are interred within its confines (Vagliani, A. “The Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls”).

The earliest account of a visit to the memorials of the apostles is attributed to Gaius, the Presbyter, “who lived when Zephyrinus was bishop of Rome [AD 199–217].”  Eusebius recorded that “I can point out the tropaia of the Apostles [Peter and Paul]; for if you go to the Vatican or the Ostian Way, you will find the tropaia of those who founded this Church.”

The Roman Emperor Constantine I built the Basilica over the burial place of Paul of Tarsus.  According to church tradition, Saint Paul’s body was laid to rest along the Ostian Way in a sepulcher owned by a Christian woman named Lucina.  A tropaeum was built as a place of remembrance. In the 4th century, Paul’s remains, excluding the head, were moved into the newly built sarcophagus within the basilica.   (Apostle Pauls head was recorded as resting at the Latern in Rome.)   The tombstone placed in the basilica was inscribed with PAULO APOSTOLO MART, “to Paul the Apostle and Martyr.”

An alternative perspective on Apostle Paul’s burial emerges from the apocryphal “Acts of Paul and Thecla.” This text portrays Paul’s burial as taking place in the vicinity of Iconium, not Rome (Acts of Paul and Thecla, Chapters 26-27). While not considered part of the New Testament canon, this source offers a counterpoint to the dominant tradition.

When did Apostle Paul die?

Scholars mostly agree that the Apostle Paul’s death occurred shortly after the Great Fire of Rome in July 64 AD.  Paul’s death is also placed before the final year of Nero’s reign in 68 AD.  These two key dates allow the placement of Paul’s death to be around 64/65 AD.

Who killed the Apostle Paul

The Apostle Pauls death was most likely at the hands of Roman authorities under the guidance of Emperor Nero.  The apostle’s Roman citizenship and his refusal to renounce his Christian faith likely led to his arrest and subsequent martyrdom under Roman jurisdiction.  Eusebius of Caesarea, in his “Ecclesiastical History,” refers to Nero’s reign and the suffering endured by early Christians, indirectly linking Nero’s regime to the persecution and martyrdom of Apostle Paul (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book 2, Chapter 25).