St. Paul the New of Mount Latros of Caria, Wonderworker
Commemorated on December 15
Saint Paul of Latros was born at Elaia in Pergamum (or Pergamos). He was the son of an officer in the Byzantine army. His father was killed in battle,and he was educated at the monastery of St Stephen in Phrygia. After the death of his mother, he devoted himself completely to monastic deeds at a monastery on Mount Latros in Bithynia, near Miletos, with his brother, St. Basil the New of Latros (March 26).
Seeking even loftier accomplishments, he secluded himself in a cave.For his ascetic deeds he gained the gifts of clairvoyance and wonderworking. Soon he attracted followers, and Paul was compelled to organize them into a community.
After twelve years his solitude was so much broken into that he withdrew to another part of the mountains, whence he visited his brethren from time to time to cheer and encourage them; he sometimes took them into the forest to sing the Divine Office together in the open air. When asked why he appeared sometimes so joyful, at other times so sad, he answered, “When nothing diverts my thoughts from God, my heart overflows with joy, so much that I often forget my food and everything else; and when there are distractions, I am upset”. Occasionally he disclosed something of the wonderful communications, which passed between his soul and God, and of the heavenly graces that he received in contemplation.
But St. Paul departed Mount Latros and settled on the island of Samos to live in a cave. But he was soon discovered and so many flocked to him that he re-established three lauras that had been ruined by the Saracens. The entreaties of the monks at Latros induced him to return to his former cell there.
The Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos (912-959) often wrote to him, asking his prayers and counsel, and often had reason to repent when he did not follow it.
St. Paul had a great tenderness for the poor and he gave them more of his food and clothes than he could properly spare. Once he would have sold himself for a slave to help some people in distress had he not been stopped. On December 6 in 956, foreseeing that his death drew near, he came down from his cell to the church, celebrated the Holy Mysteries more early than usual and then took to his bed. He spent his time in prayer and instructing his monks till his repose, which fell on December 15 in the year 950 or 955, on which day he is commemorated.
Troparion St. Paul the New of Latros — Tone 4
Since you dwell together with the bodiless hosts and are a companion of all the venerable ones, we praise you, most glorious Paul, and we beseech you: “Always pray for us, so that we may find mercy!”