St Paul the Hermit

st-paul-of-thebes
The icon of St Paul in the desert. The 2 lions are clearly shown as they helped St Anthony to bury him after death. Also is the raven with bread that is associated with the saint is seen. by: Bola Gorge

Known by two different names:  Paul the First Hermit & Paul of Thebes

He became an orphan at about the age of fifteen and hid during the oppression of the Church under Emperor Caius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius. At the age of twenty-two, Paul went to the desert to evade a planned effort by his brother-in-law who reported to the authorities that he was a Christian.

St Paul found that the eremitical life was much to his liking, and settled in a desert cavern for the remainder of his long life. At about 90 years-old St Anthony came to visit the aged saint, it has been told that St Anthony’s visit helped St Paul pass away.

The story goes that St Anthony wrapped the saint in a cloak that had been given to Anthony by St Athanasius and then buried him. According to another legend, two lions that assisted Anthony in digging a grave.

The Vit Pauli by St Jerome is the only source that contains St Paul’s life.