Paul the Hermit, third-century native of the lower Thebaid in Egypt. During the persecution of Decius (250) Paul fled to the desert and lived as a hermit. Though he intended to return to the world after the persecution ceased, he so enjoyed his life of solitude and contemplation that he remained there until his death, near the year 341. Legend said that Christ fed him daily with bread carried in the beak of a raven. St. Paul is usually considered the first hermit.
Feast: Jan. 15.
Paul the Simple, fourth-century hermit, was an elderly laborer who became a disciple of St. anthony in the Thebaid Desert when he discovered that his wife had committed adultery. Though Anthony was reluctant to receive Paul as a hermit because of Paul's advanced age, he put him to severe test, but Paul proved his great humility and obedience. Finally Anthony accepted Paul as a hermit and revered him as a powerful servant of God. St. Paul died in the desert about 339.
Feast: March 7.
Paul I of Constantinople, bishop, elected probably in 336; d. 350. Most of his episcopal career was spent combating arianism. After a series of exiles and returns to his see, Paul was finally banished to Cappadocia during the reign of constantius ii (337–361) and there he was strangled to death.
Feast: June 7.
Of St. Paul and St. John history records only their names and their Christian martyrdom. Relics, supposedly theirs, were found in a house on the Coelian Hill that was converted into a Christian church in the fourth century. Their cult was widely spread by a spurious passio telling of their gallant military service under Constantine I (306–337) and their martyrdom under julian the apostate (361–363).
Feast: June 26.
Bibliography: St. Paul the Hermit. h. waddell, tr., The Desert Fathers (New York 1936) 35–53. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4v. (New York 1956) 1:91–93. St. Paul the Simple. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4v. (New York 1956) 1:513–514. St. Paul of Constantinople. Acta Sanctorum June 2:13–24. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4v. (New York 1956) 2:492–493. St. Paul and St. John. Acta Sanctorum June 7:138–142. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4v. (New York 1956) 2:645–646.