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St. Paul the Hermit

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Saint Paul the First Hermit


Paul was born around the year 227 in Roman Egypt. His parents died when he was a young man, and his sister’s husband, greedy for the inheritance, sought to betray Paul’s Christianity to the pagan authorities. Paul fled to the desert, and took refuge in an ancient cave. His temporary refuge became a resolve to live out his days devoted to God in solitude, praying continuously for the world. He survived on spring-water, and fruit from a tree near the cave. When the tree died, a raven miraculously brought Paul bread each day, as with the Prophet Elias. Paul’s life of almost one hundred years in solitude would have passed unknown to mortal men, but the great St. Anthony the Abbot, in his own old age, was told in a vision to visit Paul, as a heavenly rebuke of the abbot’s temptation to think himself the first hermit. The two met as friends, their names having been divinely revealed to each other, and they broke the raven’s bread together. Anthony left on a last errand for Paul, and returning found the first hermit dead. Two lions helped Anthony dig Paul’s grave.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 15th

ST. PAUL, the first hermit, who was carried to the home of the blessed on the tenth of this month.

In the diocese of Angers, St. Maur, abbot and disciple of St. Benedict. He made great progress with so able a master, for while he was still under the Saint’s instruction he miraculously walked upon the water — a prodigy unheard of since the days of St. Peter. Sent later to France by St. Benedict, he built a famous monastery, which he governed for forty years, and after performing striking miracles, he rested in peace.

In Judaea, the holy prophets Habacuc and Michaeas, whose bodies were found by divine revelation in the days of Theodosius the Elder.

At Anagni, St. Secundina, virgin and martyr, who suffered under the emperor Decius.

At Cagliari, in Sardinia, St. Ephisius, martyr, who, in the persecution of Diocletian and under the judge Flavian, having, by the assistance of God, overcome many torments, was beheaded and ascended to heaven.

At Nola, in Campania, St. Maximus, bishop.

At Clermont, in Auvergne, St. Bonitus, bishop and confessor.

In Egypt, St. Macarius, abbot, disciple of St. Anthony, very celebrated for his life and miracles.

Also, blessed Isidore, renowned for holiness of life, faith and miracles.

At Rome, St. John Calybita. For some time living unknown to his parents in a corner of their house, and later in a hut on an island in the Tiber, he was recognized by them only at his death. Being renowned for miracles, he was buried where he had died, and a church was subsequently erected in his honor in the same place.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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