Paul the Hermit–the first hermit

They say (or at least used to say) that the longer your beard is, the holier you are.

Paul the Hermit had a long beard.

Today Mother Church remembers St. Paul the Hermit, who lived in the third and fourth centuries. He is regarded as one of the founders of monasticism, together with St. Anthony (whose feast is right around the corner).

What a radical thing it must have been. He went off into the desert to imitate Christ’s 40 days in the desert but also as a way of protesting the new comfort found within the Church under the reign of Constantine. Too many luxuries, according to Paul, so off he went to live a more penetential life.

In the desert Anthony of Egypt encountered Paul and began to visit him freqeuntly probably for advice and direction. Anthonly later buried Paul in a grave made by lions. Hence, he is often pictured with two lions around him.

St. Paul the Hermit: Pray for us!