Conversion of Paul

Date of news: 25 January 2016

Fol. 161r

Unlike most miniatures in the prayer book, this scene only depicts one saint’s feast day rather than the usual three: the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul (January 25). Before Paul converted to Christianity, he was known as Saul and had a reputation for being a zealous persecutor of the followers of Jesus. One day, when he was making his way to Damascus on horseback, he was suddenly surrounded by a light shining down from heaven. He was so shocked that he fell off his horse, upon which he heard Jesus’ voice asking him why Saul was persecuting him. Saul’s companions were speechless. They heard the voice as well, but were unable to see anyone. When Saul got up off the ground, he found he could not see even though his eyes were open. His blindness lasted three days, and when he started to regain his vision he began spreading the word of Christ. Keeping this story in mind, it is remarkable that this miniature does not depict any kind of divine presence; usually Jesus is shown looking down from the heavens or golden rays of light shine down upon the scene.