Saint Paul the Hermit

detail from an illustration of Saint Paul the Hermit; design by Abraham Bloemaert, engraving by Boetius à Bolswert, 1619; from the book 'Sylva anachoretica Aegypti et Palaestinae', University Library, Nijmegen, Netherlands; swiped from Wikimedia Commons; click for image sourceAlso known as

  • Paul the First Hermit
  • Paul of Thebes
  • Paul the Anchorite
  • Pavly
  • Pavlos



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. His biography was written by Saint Jerome.






  • dead man whose grave is being dug by a lion
  • man being brought food by a bird
  • man clad in rough garments made of leaves or skins
  • old man, clothed with palm-leaves, and seated under a palm-tree, near which are a river and loaf of bread
  • raven
  • with Saint Anthony the Abbot

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Paul the Hermit“. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 January 2010. Web. 10 October 2015. <>