LATER POSSIBLE MISSIONARY JOURNEYS
Romans did not have prisons like the ones in the
Accused wealthy citizens were simply kept under
house arrest, provided they behaved, until a trial could take place.
Occasionally the accused might be detained to await trial, but
usually those awaiting trial were encouraged to go into voluntary
exile. Those awaiting trial were called "carcer" or "publica vincula."
At the foot of the Capitoline Hill, between the
Curia and the Temple of Concord stood the Carcer, the only state
prison of ancient Rome. It is sometimes called the Mamertine Prison.
The carcer was the upper section in which prisoners could be held
Mamertine prison. Entrance
Mamertine Prison. Upper chamber of
the 2 prison chambers
Roman Prison of Paul
The pastorals assume a period of activity for Paul subsequent to his
The underground area of the prison was called the
Tullianum because it housed water springs. Executions occurred here.
According to tradition, St. Peter and Paul were confined here during
the reign of Nero and reputedly St. Peter called up the waters of
the spring to baptize his jailers.
The pastorals assume a period of activity for Paul
subsequent to his captivity.
The Epistles to the Colossians, the Ephesians, and Philemon were
despatched together and by the same messenger, Tychicus.
"My fellow workers unto the Kingdom of God"
The following men were with Paul in Roman Prison:
Demas left him in the middle.
Others became Evangelists and Bishops.
Timothy was born in
Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a
Gentile. When Paul came to preach in Lycaonia, Timothy, his mother
and his grandmother all became Christians. Several years later, Paul
went back to found Timothy grown up. Paul invited him to join him in
preaching the Gospel. Timothy was the great apostle's beloved
disciple, like a son to him. He went everywhere with Paul until he
became bishop of Ephesus. Then Timothy stayed there to shepherd his
people. As St. Paul, Timothy, too, died a martyr.
An Asiatic Christian, a "faithful minister in the
Lord" (Eph. 6:21, 22), who, with Trophimus, accompanied Paul on a
part of his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). He is
alluded to also in Col. 4:7, Titus 3:12, and 2 Tim. 4:12 as having
been with Paul at Rome, whence he sent him to Ephesus, probably for
the purpose of building up and encouraging the church there.
There is no doubt that Paul's trial terminated in a sentence of
acquittal, for the report of the Governor Festus was certainly
favorable as well as that of the centurion.
There is no doubt that Paul's trial terminated in a sentence of
acquittal, for The Jews seem to have abandoned their charge since
their co-religionists in Rome were not informed of it (Acts, 28:
(Act 28:21) And they said unto him, We neither received letters
out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came
shewed or spake any harm of thee.
The course of the proceedings led Paul to hope for a release, of
which he sometimes speaks as of a certainty
Phi 1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and
continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.
Phi 2:24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself shall come
(Phm 1:22) At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I
am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you.
Scholars have been trying to reconstruct what happened after the
release. Many have been able to point out possible routes of Paul
after the freedom till his rearrest and martyrdom.
1. Paul expressed intention to travel westward from Rome
to Spain (Rom 15:24) as well as eastward from Rome to
Macedonia and Asia Minor (Phil 2:24; Philem 22). Evidence suggests
he carried out both journeys:
a. Paul evangelized the island of Crete in the east (Titus 2:5);
this mission would not have been possible to fit into Paul’s earlier
b. Clement of Rome - Paul carried the Gospel to limits of the
c. Tradition holds Paul was later rearrested and martyred
(beheaded) in Rome
Eusebius tells that
Paul arrived "a second time in this town" of Rome and
that he suffered there a martyr's death. And Christians might be
"proud that such a man" persecuted them: "for he who knows Nero,
understands that he would not have condemned this teaching unless it
had been something extremely good."
Commentary on the Bible
, Adam Clarke says:
"Concerning the time,
place, and manner of his death, we have little certainty. It is
commonly believed that, when a general persecution was raised
against the Christians by Nero, about A.D. 64, under pretence that
they had set Rome on fire, both St. Paul and St. Peter then sealed
the truth with their blood; the latter being crucified with his head
downward; the former being beheaded, either in A.D. 64 or 65, and
buried in the Via Ostiensis. EUSEBIUS, Hist, Eccles. lib. ii.
cap. 25, intimates that the tombs of these two apostles, with
their inscriptions, were extant in his time; and quotes as his
authority a holy man of the name of Caius, who wrote against the
sect of the Cataphrygians, who has asserted this, as from his
personal knowledge. See Eusebius, by Reading, vol. i. p. 83; and see
Dr. Lardner, in his life of this apostle, who examines this account
with his usual perspicuity and candor.
"Other writers have
been more particular concerning his death: they say that it was not
by the command of Nero that he was martyred, but by that of the
prefects of the city, Nero being then absent; that he was beheaded
at Aquae Salviae, about three miles from Rome, on Feb. 22; that he
could not be crucified, as Peter was, because he was a freeman of
the city of Rome. But there is great uncertainty on these subjects,
so that we cannot positively rely on any account that even the
ancients have transmitted to us concerning the death of this
apostle; and much less on the accounts given by the moderns; and
least of all on those which are to be found in the Martyrologists.
Whether Paul ever returned after this to Rome has not yet been
satisfactorily proved. It is probable that he did, and suffered
death there, as stated above; but still we have no certainty" (Commentary
on the Bible by Adam Clarke, commenting on Acts 28:31).
Standard Bible Encyclopedia says:
"When Paul writes again
to Timothy he has had a winter in prison, and has suffered greatly
from the cold and does not wish to spend another winter in the
Mamertine (probably) prison (2Timothy 4:13, 21). We do not know what
the charges now are. They may have been connected with the burning
of Rome. There were plenty of informers eager to win favor with
Nero. Proof was not now necessary. Christianity is no longer a
religion under the shelter of Judaism. It is now a crime to be a
Christian. It is dangerous to be seen with Paul now, and he feels
the desertion keenly (2Timothy 1:15ff; 4:10). Only Luke, the beloved
physician, is with Paul (2Timothy 4:11), and such faithful ones as
live in Rome still in hiding (2Timothy 4:21).
"Paul hopes that
Timothy may come and bring Mark also ( 2Timothy 4:11). Apparently
Timothy did come and was put into prison (Hebrews 13:23). Paul is
not afraid. He knows that he will die. He has escaped the mouth of
the lion (2Timothy 4:17), but he will die (2Timothy 4:18). The Lord
Jesus stood by him, perhaps in visible presence (2Timothy 4:17). The
tradition is, for now Paul fails us, that Paul, as a Roman citizen,
was beheaded on the Ostian Road just outside of Rome. Nero died
June, 68 AD, so that Paul was executed before that date, perhaps in
the late spring of that year (or 67). Perhaps Luke and Timothy were
with him. It is fitting, as Findlay suggests, to let Paul's words in
2Timothy 4:6-8 serve for his own epitaph. He was ready to go to be
with Jesus, as he had long wished to be (Philippians 1:23)"
Since Paul was a Roman
citizen, he could not be executed within the city of Rome, nor could
he be crucified. He was taken outside the city of Rome and put to
death with a sword. St. Paul Basilica is built over his tomb. He was
beheaded between 66-68 AD at Aquae Salviae, which is now known as
Legend says that his
head bounced three times, and a fountain sprung up at each stop –
hence the name Tre Fontane, or Three Fountains. His body was taken
about two miles away to be buried in land owned by a friend, where
the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls was later built.
The story of St. Paul's martyrdom is told in
Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (Legenda Aurea) as
Condemned to death by Emperor Nero, Paul was
taken to the place of his execution outside the Ostia Gate in Rome,
hence the appearance of Pyramid of Cestius in the background. On his
way he not only converted three of the Roman soldiers who were his
captors (here represented by the soldiers in armor at the bottom and
to the left of the scene) but also drew the sympathy of a Roman
matron named Plautilla, or Lemobia, who was a Christian. She asked
him to pray for her and he responded by asking her for her veil with
which to cover his eyes, assuring her that she could have it back
when the grisly execution was over. The executioners mocked her,
saying, "How canst thou give this precious object to such an