Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles, but only converted to Christianity after Christ’s death. Before then he was called Saul and was a fanatic persecutor of Christians. When he was about 24 years old he was struck by lightning while on his way to Damascus in Syria. He converted to Christianity and took on the name of Paul. He became an indefatigable champion of his faith. Paul travelled extensively throughout the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, founding various Christian communities, with which he maintained contact. His letters are an important part of the New Testament. In art he is often depicted as an old man with a book (symbolizing his many writings) and a sword. Like Peter, Paul is considered one of the founders of the Church.