Venerable Dositheus of Palestine, disciple of Venerable Abba Dorotheus

Saint Dositheus, a disciple of Saint Abba Dorotheus (June 5), lived during the sixth-seventh centuries, and was raised in a rich and renowned family. Young Dositheus listened to tales of the holy city of Jerusalem from the servants of his grandfather, a military commander, and this kindled within him the desire to go there. Soon his wish came true.

At Gethsemane, he gazed for a long time at a picture of the Dread Last judgment. Suddenly he saw beside him a woman, who explained to him what was depicted in the image. The youth asked, “How is it possible to avoid the eternal torments?”

She replied, “Fast, do not eat meat, and pray constantly to God.” After this, his strange guide suddenly became invisible. She who conversed with him had been the Most Holy Theotokos. The appearance of the Mother of God produced a strong impression on the youth, and he decided to enter a monastery headed by Abba Seridus (August 13), and populated by such great ascetics as Saints Barsanuphius (February 6) and John (June 19).

Dositheus, asking to be accepted among the brethren, was sent to the Elder Dorotheus. Saint Dositheus fulfilled his obedience in the monastery infirmary, caring for all the sick. Saint Dorotheus trained his disciple in abstinence and fasting, gradually decreasing the quantity of food he consumed each day.

He also weaned the youth from vexation and anger, by constantly reminding him that every unkind word said to a sick person, is said to Jesus Christ Himself. By revealing his thoughts to the Elder and through unhesitating obedience, Saint Dositheus liberated his soul from passions. After five years of tending the sick and obeying his Elder, Saint Dositheus fell into serious sickness. Patiently enduring his sufferings, he prayed constantly and never complained.

Not long before his death he asked a message be sent to Saint Barsanuphius: “Father, grant me pardon, I cannot live much longer.” He replied, “Have patience, my son, for the mercy of God is near.” After several days Saint Dositheus again sent this message to the Elder: “My master, I cannot live any longer.” Then Saint Barsanuphius blessed him to depart to God, and he asked the dying one to pray for all the brethren when he stood before the Holy Trinity.

The brethren were astonished that the great Abba Barsanuphius would ask the prayers of a monk who had lived at the monastery for only five years without any great ascetic accomplishments (they had not seen his vigils and his abstinence). But after the death of the young monk, a certain experienced ascetic was praying that the final resting place of the departed fathers of the monastery might be revealed to him, and in a dream he saw young Dositheus among these saints. Saint Dositheus was given great glory in the Kingdom of Heaven for his perfect obedience to his Elder and for cutting off his own will.