Paul of Thebes

Infobox Saint
name=Saint Paul of Thebes
birth_date=ca 232
death_date=ca 345
feast_day=Feast day celebrated on January 15 in the West, on January 5 or January 15 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and on February 9 in the Oriental Orthodox Churches
venerated_in=


imagesize=250px
caption=
birth_place=Egypt
death_place=Egypt
titles=First Hermit
beatified_date=
beatified_place=
beatified_by=
canonized_date=
canonized_place=
canonized_by=
attributes=Two lions, palm tree, raven
patronage=
major_shrine=Monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite, Egypt
suppressed_date=
issues=

Saint Paul of Thebes, commonly known as Saint Paul the First Hermit or Paul the Anchorite (d. c. 345) is regarded as the first Christian hermit. He is not to be confused with Paul the Simple, who was a disciple of St. Anthony.

Legend

The legend according to Saint Jerome's "Vitae Patrum" ("Vita Pauli primi eremitae") is that, as a young man, Paul fled to the Theban desert during the persecution of Decius and Valerianus in c. 250. He lived in the mountains of this desert in a cave near a clear spring and a palm tree, the leaves of which provided him with raiment and the fruit of which provided him with his only source of food till he was 43 years old, when a raven started bringing him half a loaf of bread daily. He would remain in that cave for the rest of his life, almost a hundred years later.

Jerome further relates the meeting of Saint Anthony and Paul, when the latter was aged 113. They conversed with each other for one day and one night. When Anthony next visited him, Paul was dead. Anthony clothed him in a tunic which was a present from Saint Athanasius and buried him, with two lions helping to dig the grave.

Veneration

His feast day is celebrated on January 15 in the West, on January 5 or January 15 in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and on 2 Meshir (February 9) in the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Saint Anthony described him as "the first monk". The Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit was founded in his honour: see Pauline Fathers. He is usually represented with a palm tree and two lions.

ee also

*Coptic Orthodox Church
*Monastery of Saint Paul the Anchorite
*Hermit
*Byzantine Discalced Carmelites
*Coptic Saints

References

* "Oxford Dictionary of Saints", ed D. H. Farmer. OUP 2004.
* "Coptic Synexarium"
* Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. "The Penguin Dictionary of Saints". 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
* Virginia Burrus, "The Queer Life of Paul the Hermit," in Eadem, "The Sex Lives of Saints: An Erotics of Ancient Hagiography" (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), pp 24-33.

External links

* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11590b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia article]
* [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.vi.i.html St Jerome, The Life of Paulus the First Hermit]


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