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Paul of Thebes

d. c.340. Traditionally the first Christian hermit. Jerome's Vita Pauli is the sole authority for his life. Born in the Thebaid, during the Decian persecution (249-51) he fled to a cave near the Red Sea at the age of sixteen, where he lived a life of prayer and penitence reportedly for about 100 years. He is said to have been visited by Antony when he was 113; there is no confirmation of this visit in the Vita Antonii, and much is doubtful regarding his life. In later art Paul is represented with a palm- tree, from the leaves of which he wove a tunic, and two lions, which dug his grave.

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