Saint Paphnutius of Skete

Also known as

  • Paphnutius of Alexandria
  • Paphnutius of Scete
  • Paphnutius of Wadi Natrun
  • Paphnutius the Ascetic
  • Paphnutius the Buffalo (the word indicated his love of solitude)
  • Paphnutius the Hermit
  • Pafnutios…
  • Pafnutius…
  • Paphnutios…



Desert hermit in Egypt in the late 3rd and early 4th-century. Priest. Spiritual student of Saint Macarius the Great. The only times he would leave his hermit‘s cell was to attend Mass at a church 5 miles away on Saturday night and Sunday monring; he would carry back a bucket of water that was all the water he would consume until the next trip to Mass. During the persecutions of Diocletian, governor Hadrian sent troops to bring in Paphnutius; the hermit heard they were coming, went to the governor on his own, and made a public profession of Christianity. He was imprisoned and tortured to get him to give up his faith; he faith was so strong that he converted forty fellow prisoners (who were burned to death) and two of his torturers, Dionysius and Callimachus (who were beheaded). Released, Paphnutius was taken in by a local Christian name Nestorius, and spent his day preaching and teaching to the man’s family and anyone else who would listen; at least 546 people were brought to the faith, all of whom were later martyred. Hadrian finally sent the troublesome hermit to Diocletian whose forces finally killed him. Martyr. Paphnutius is most famous for his accounts of the lives of many holy hermits of the Egyptian desert, including Saint Onuphrius.



  • authorities tied a stone around his neck and threw him into a river; he floated to shore on the stone
  • crucified on a date tree in the early 4th century


Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Paphnutius of Skete“. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 July 2018. Web. 21 January 2019. <>