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Paul the Simple
Born Unknown, Egypt
Died ca 339, Egypt
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox
Feast March 7

Paul the Simple (d. ca. 339) was a contemporary of St. Anthony and a younger contemporary of St. Paul of Egypt, the First Hermit. The account of his life is found in Palladius of Helenopolis De Vitis Patrum 8,28 and Tyrannius Rufinus Historia Eremitica 31.

Originally a farmer, upon discovering that his wife was an adulteress, Paul left her to become a hermit. He requested to study the monastic life from St. Anthony, but the latter was reluctant to accept him as Paul was 60 years old. Paul refused to leave, living outside St. Anthony's door night and day until the fourth night, fearing that Paul would die of exposure, Anthony took him in. Paul's simple mind staggered Anthony, especially that night at dinner when Anthony took a crust of bread and offered three to Paul. When each had eaten one crust, Anthony offered another to Paul. "If you have another one, I will," said Paul, "but not if you won't." "I've had quite sufficient for one who is a monk," said Anthony. Paul replied: "Then one is enough for me, for I want to be a monk." Later the account describes a miracle performed by Paul—a victim of demonic possession came to the cell on St. Anthony, but he directed the boy to Paul who, with a prayer to Christ, cast the creature to Red Sea.

See also


"St. Paul the Simple". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.