St Paul, The First Hermit

St. Paul of Thebes (c. 227 – c. 341), commonly known as Paul the First Hermit or Paul the Anchorite, was an Egyptian saint regarded as the first Christian hermit, who lived alone in the desert of Thebes, Roman Egypt from the age of sixteen to the age of one hundred and thirteen years old. He lived in the mountains of the desert in a cave near a clear spring and a palm tree, the leaves of which provided him with clothing and the fruit of which provided him with his only source of food until he was 43 years old, when a raven started bringing him half a loaf of bread daily. Paul of Thebes is known to posterity because around the year 342, St. Anthony the Great was told in a dream about the older hermit’s existence, and went to find him.

He was canonized in 491 by Pope Gelasius I, and is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodox Churches.


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