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Saint of the Day

St. Paul the Hermit

January 15
Born: 230, Lower Thebes, Egypt.
Died: 342.

Paul grew up in an upper-class, Christian family. He was well educated, fluent in Greek and Egyptian. His parents died when the boy was 15. When the persecutions of Decius began a few years later, Paul fled into the desert to escape both them, and the machinations of his brother Peter and other family members who wanted his property. He lived as a desert hermit in a cave the remainder of his 113 year life, surviving off fruit and water, wearing leaves or nothing, spending his time in prayer; legend says a raven kept him supplied with bread. Late in life he came to know, and was buried by Saint Anthony the Abbot.

Saint Paul The Hermit who was the first of the Desert Fathers. The only recorded information on his life and religious influence is from the original Latin account which was written by Saint Jerome. Saint Paul was the first of these men who retired to the Desert and spent their lives in solitude, prayer and meditation. He was soon followed by a large number of others, the best known of whom is Saint Antony, a devotee of Saint Paul, who led the largest community of these men in the Desert. They became known as Anchorites which by dictionary definition is "a hermit or recluse, one who retires to a solitary place, specifically to devote himself to religious duties."

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