Bishop in Egypt
(† Second half of the Fourth Century)
The holy monk Paphnutius was an Egyptian who, after having spent several years in the desert under the direction of the great Saint Anthony, was made bishop in Upper Thebaid. He was one of the confessors under the tyrant Maximin Daia, who lost their right eye and were afterwards sent to work in the mines.
When peace was restored to the Church, Paphnutius returned to his diocese and his flock. The Arian heresy was entering into Egypt, and he was seen to be one of the most zealous defenders of the Catholic Faith. For his eminent sanctity and his glorious title of confessor, that is, one who had confessed the Faith before the persecutors and under torments, he was highly esteemed at the great Council of Nicea in 325. Constantine the Great, during the celebration of that synod, sometimes conferred privately with him in his palace, and never dismissed him without kissing respectfully the place which had once held the eye he had lost for the Faith.
Saint Paphnutius remained always in close union with Saint Athanasius, and accompanied him to the Council of Tyre in 355. We have no particular account of the death of Saint Paphnutius, but his name is recorded in the Roman Martyrology on the 11th of September.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).