• 10 Jan 20

Jan 10 - “St. Paul of Obnora” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Paul!

St. Paul was born into a noble family near Moscow.   When his parents arranged a marriage for him, he secretly left his family home and entered a distant monastery.  Some time later he moved to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity to become a disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh.  Under the direction of St. Sergius, he made great progress in unceasing prayer of the heart.  The elder blessed him to retire to a hermitage near the monastery, and he lived there 15 years. 

In time St. Sergius gave him permission to go deeper into the wilderness as a desert-dweller, and he disappeared into the forests across the Volga River, where he found an ancient hollow linden tree for a hermitage.  Eating whatever plants he could find, he was soon surrounded by wild animals of all sorts who lived peacefully in his presence.  It was as though the original peace of Eden surrounded the man of God.

Near the end of his life he was persuaded to found a cenobitic monastery near his hermitage.  He appointed one of his disciples to be abbot of this monastery and he himself lived in solitude.  He died at the age of 112 and was buried near the monastery church. 

In the following century Kazan Tatars destroyed his monastery and killed many of the monks.   It was rebuilt and became a popular pilgrimage site until the communists destroyed it in the last century.