He was a noble bishop from Egypt. He took part in the Council of Nicea in 325, to defend the Divinity of Jesus against the Arian heretics. Under the Emperor Galerius he was tortured for the Catholic Faith. One of his eyes was plucked out and one of his legs mutilated. Later, Saint Paphnutius became a monk, and a great friend and associate of Saint Anthony of the Desert, and was consecrated a bishop in the Upper Thebaid in Egypt.