St. Paul of Thebes, called the Anchorite
One of the earliest
hermits of the Egyptian wilderness, Paul discovered underground
in the desert
secret government facility from
the days of Cleopatra and made it his dwelling
place. Alerted to his existence by a vision,
St. Anthony the Great visited him
many years later, and returned again to bury his
by a pair of lions. It is interesting that after decades of
isolation, St. Paul's first questions to Anthony were about
the state of the Empire: being an anchorite did not mean ceasing to
care about people in the world.
The short Latin biography of Paul by St.
Jerome was one of the most successful hagiographic texts
ever written, read in the East as well as in the West. It presents
the hermit and his visitor as attractive and humane figures --
Paul's first comment to Anthony is actually a witticism --
representatives of a divine civilisation flourishing in the
wilderness while the
secular culture of the cities, gruesomely portrayed
in the Vita's
opening paragraphs, degenerated into violence and sensuality.
Norman Hugh Redington
Under construction --- far from complete! Read with caution.
Some Animals Associated with St. Paul of Thebes:
Return to St Pachomius Library.