On the fifteenth of this month [January], we commemorate our Holy Father Paul of Thebes.
If the gates of Thebes in Egypt are a miracle,
How much more Paul, and the radiant gates of his life?
On the fifteenth Paul the offspring of Thebes died.
Our Holy Father Paul lived during the reign of Decius (249–251) and Valerian (253-260), and was from the city of Thebes in Egypt. When he came to know that the husband of his sister sought to betray him to the tyrants as a Christian, with the aim of inheriting the portion of the Saint's parental inheritance: for this reason he departed and fled like David into the desert and mountains, in fear of the torments inflicted on Christians by the tyrants. With the passing of time, the fear of torment lessened, while in the heart of the Venerable One there increased the fear of God, and the longing to be in God's favor. For this reason he went into the deepest desert, and he entered a cave, where he passed the remainder of his life in peace and in impassivity to the passions, and he departed to the Lord.
It is said of this Saint that Anthony the Great found him, and blessed him for dwelling in this quiet and deserted place, having spent many years there, as well as for his withdrawal and exile from the world. He was the first of the Venerable Ones to dare enter the deepest parts of the desert, and among the first who for a long period of time prolonged the path of asceticism. For he had withdrawn from the concerns of the world at a young age, and lived in the desert for one hundred and thirteen years.
Apolytikion in the Third Tone
Inspired by the Spirit, thou wast the first to dwell in the desert, in emulation of Elijah the Zealot; as one like the Angels, thou wast made known to the world by Holy Anthony. O Venerable Paul, pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
We gather today and praise thee with hymns as an unwaning ray of the spiritual sun; for thou didst shine on those in the darkness of ignorance, and lead all men to the heights holy Paul, adornment of Thebes, firm foundation of ascetics and fathers.