Paul was born of wealthy parents in Lower Thebes in Egypt during the reign of Emperor Decius. Paul, with his sister, inherited all the property of their parents. But his brother-in-law, an idolater, wanted to confiscate Paul’s share of the property and threatened to betray Paul before the judge as a Christian if he did not cede his property to him. This misfortune, coupled with the heroic examples of self-sacrifice by the Christian martyrs that Paul saw with his own eyes, motivated him to give his share of the property to his sister. Then he, as a pauper, withdrew into the desert, where he lived an ascetic life until his death. To what spiritual heights this ascetic giant reached was witnessed by no less a person than St. Anthony the Great, who once visited Paul and saw how the wild beasts and the birds of the air ministered to him. Returning from this visit, Anthony said to his monks: “Woe is me, my children! A sinful and false monk am I, a monk only in name. I saw Elias, I saw John in the wilderness – and in truth, I saw Paul in Paradise!” St. Paul lived 113 years and peacefully reposed in the Lord in the year 342.
Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.
- January 15: Venerable John Kalyvites (the Hut-dweller)
With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labors have borne fruit a hundred-fold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O Paul, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.
O ye faithful, let us all laud the divine Paul, the bright luminary that shone at the virtues’ lofty height; and let us joyously cry aloud: O Christ, Thou art the rejoicing of all the Saints.