From Latin Paulus, a Roman family name, originally a nickname meaning ‘small’, used in the post-classical period as a given name. Pre-eminently this is the name of the saint who is generally regarded, with St Peter, as co-founder of the Christian Church. Born in Tarsus, and originally named Saul, he was both a Roman citizen and a Jew, and at first found employment as a minor official persecuting Christians. He was converted to Christianity by a vision of Christ while on the road to Damascus, and thereafter undertook extensive missionary journeys, converting people, especially Gentiles, to Christianity all over the eastern Mediterranean. His preaching aroused considerable official hostility, and eventually he was beheaded at Rome in about ad 65. He is the author of the fourteen epistles to churches and individuals which form part of the New Testament. It has been in continuous use in the British Isles since the 16th century.