Turkey Celebrates the Birth of St Paul


21 June 2008 - Christians gathered in southwest Turkey today to celebrate the birth two millennia ago of Saint Paul.

The apostle to the Gentiles was born in Tarsus in modern day Turkey.

The nation's small Catholic community will mark the historic event tomorrow at the Church of St Paul in Tarsus, which was confiscated by the state in 1943 and is currently being used as a museum.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Vatican's Council for Christian Unity will preside over an ecumenical service there.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Europe and North America are expected to attend this year's celebrations of the Pauline Year which Pope Benedict will officially inaugurate next week in Rome's basilica of St Paul's outside the walls.