January 15

St. Paul the Hermit

Saint Paul the Hermit

Early Life

Saint Paul the Hermit also called Paul of Thebes was born around theyear 227 A.D. He was born in Egypt in the region of Thebaid. The name ofSaint Paul’s parents and siblings are unknown but it is recorded that hehad a married sister.

At the age of 15, Saint Paul and his sister were orphaned and hereceived some of his parent’s possessions.

In the year 250, Roman Emperor Traianus Decius began to persecuteChristians. Saint Paul was a devout Christian and felt threatened by theEmperor. In a bid to escape Decius, Saint Paul the Hermit went intohiding in a friend’s house.

Fearing that his sister’s husband was going to sell him out to theEmperor, Saint Paul left his hiding spot and instead took to the safetyof the wilderness.

Dedication and Devotion

Saint Paul the Hermit lived in a cave in the Egyptian desert where hespent most of his time praying. He had planned to return home after thetroubles had ended but he got used to living in solitude and insteadspent the rest of his life alone.

For the majority of the time he spent in the wilderness, he was providedwater from a spring that ran in the desert, and a palm tree provided himwith food and clothing. He made his clothes out of the leaves of thetrees.

This went on till he reached the age of 43 years. After that, a ravenstarted to bring him bread for food every day.

When Saint Paul turned 90, his presence in the wilderness was shown toSt. Anthony the Great. Saint Anthony had a vision in which he saw SaintPaul and won’t year’s trying to find him.

Anthony finally found Saint Paul in his 113th year, in 342 AD. He methim in the cave and they became fast friends. They dined on the breadthe Raven brought and prayed together.

While Saint Anthony was convinced that he had just found a new friend,Saint Paul knew that God sent him Anthony to help him die. He toldAnthony this and Anthony wept bitterly.

Saint Paul the Hermit requested the cloak which Athanasius had giftedAnthony and asked that his body be wrapped up and buried in it. WhileAnthony left to get the cloak, Saint Paul the Hermit passed awaypeacefully.

Death and Canonization

Saint Paul the Hermit died in 342 A.D. His grave was dug by two lionsand Saint Anthony laid him to rest. When Saint Anthony left thewilderness, he took with him the clothes made from woven leaves thatSaint Paul always wore.

Saint Paul was canonized Pre-Congregation. He is commemorated in theCoptic and Armenian rites of the Mass.

He is described as the patron saint of hermits, weavers, and theclothing industry.

Saint Paul the Hermit is celebrated every year by the Catholic Church onthe 15th of January in the west and by Orthodox Catholic Churches. TheOriental Orthodox Churches celebrate him on the 9th of February.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Paul the Hermit

  1. Did you know that Saint Anthony described Saint Paul the Hermit as
    the first monk and the Father of Monasticism?
  2. Did you know that Saint Paul is believed to be buried on the site of
    the cave where he lived? It is believed that the Monastery of
    Saint Paul the Anchorite which is located in the eastern desert
    mountains of Egypt near the Red Sea is where he spent most of his
  3. Did you know that Saint Anthony wore Saint Paul the Hermit’s woven
    clothes? He so treasured the Saint that he wore the garment on the
    feast days of Easter and Pentecost.
  4. Did you know that Saint Paul is the patron saint of the Diocese of
    San Pablo in the Philippines? He is also a titular of the
  5. Did you know that Saint Paul grew up in an influential family? He
    was well educated and also fluent in Greek.

Prayer to St. Paul the Hermit

Father and Prince of Hermits! thou art now contemplating in all hisglory that God, whose weakness and lowliness thou didst study andimitate during the sixty years of thy desert-life: thou art now with himin the eternal union of the Vision.Instead of thy cavern, where thou didst spend thy life of unknownpenance, thou hast the immensity of the heavens for thy dwelling;instead of thy tunic of palm-leaves, thou hast the robe of Light;instead of the pittance of material bread, thou hast the Bread ofeternal life; instead of thy humble fountain, thou hast the waters whichspring up to eternity, filling thy soul with infinite delights.Thou didst imitate the silence of the Babe of Bethlehem by thy holy lifeof seclusion; now, thy tongue is forever singing the praises of thisGod, and the music of infinite bliss is forever falling on thine ear.Thou didst not know this world of ours, save by its deserts; but now,thou must compassionate and pray for us who live in it; speak for us toour dear Jesus; remind Him how He visited it in wonderful mercy andlove; pray his sweet blessing upon us, and the graces of perfectdetachment from transitory things, love of poverty, love of prayer, andlove of our heavenly country.Amen.