Feast day: January 15
Saint Paul the Hermit was raised in a well-to-do Christian family. He was well-educated and could speak both Greek and Egyptian. Sadly, he was orphaned at the age of 15. When the persecutions of Decius broke out a few years later, Paul fled to a cave in the desert to escape what he felt was certain persecution, for his brother-in-law wanted to turn him in for being a Christian in order to gain control of his possessions.
Paul’s plan was to return home once the persecutions ended, but he found the life of solitude and prayer in the cave so appealing that he decided to stay. He lived in the cave for 90 years, with a neighboring stream giving him water and a palm tree providing him with food and clothing.
Legend has it that after 21 years a bird began bringing him half a loaf of bread each day to eat. One day, Saint Anthony—sent by God to find a man more perfect than himself—found Paul in his cave. It is said that when Anthony visited Paul the bird who brought Paul bread brought a whole loaf that day to accommodate his visitor. Just as Paul predicted, Anthony one day returned to bury him.
Saint Paul the Hermit is said to have lived to an incredible 112 years of age.
(Image in public domain-70)