The Monk Dositheos

Commemorated on February 19

      The Monk Dositheos, a disciple of the Monk Abba Dorotheos (Comm. 5 June), lived during the VI-VII Centuries, and was raised in a rich and reknown family. Young Dositheos listened to tales about 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 the depiction of the Dread Last Judgement. Suddenly he saw beside him a woman, who explained pointing out to him, what was depicted in the image. The youth asked: "How be it possible to avoid the eternal torments?" To this question followed the reply: "Fast, be not given to the fleshly, pray constantly". After this his strange guide suddenly became invisible. Dositheos started to search about in vain, since She conversing with him had been the MostHoly Mother of God Herself. The appearance of the Mother of God produced on the youth a strong impression, and he decided to enter a monastery headed by Abba Serid, and populated by such great ascetics as the monastic-elder Barsonophios (Comm. 6 February) and John (Comm. 19 June). Dositheos, having made fervent entreaty to be accepted amongst the brethren, was sent off as a student to the monastic-elder Dorotheos. The Monk Dositheos bore obedience in the monastery sick-ward, caring for all the infirm. The Monk Dorotheos trained his student in abstinence and fasting, with the gradual lessening of the quantity of daily bread consumed. He also weaned the youth from vexation and anger, by constantly reminding, that every unkind word said to a sick person, is said simultaneously to Christ Jesus Himself. By revealing his thoughts to the elder and by unhesitating obedience the Monk Dositheos liberated his soul from the proclivities of the passions. Spending five years at the ascetic deed of tending the sick and obedience to his monastic elder, the Monk Dositheos himself fell into serious sickness. Patiently enduring his sufferings, he never complained and he prayed constantly. Not long before his death he asked a message be conveyed to the elder Barsonophios: "Father, grant me pardon, I cannot much longer live". That one sent back to him the reply: "Hold on, my son, for the mercy of God be yet not far off". After several days the Monk Dositheos again had conveyed to the elder the message: "My master, I cannot much longer live". Thereupon the Monk Barsonophios blessed him to expire to God, and he himself asked the dying one to pray for all the brethren, when he should stand before the Holy Trinity. The brethren were astonished that the great Abba Barsonophios would ask prayers of a monk, who had lived at the monastery for only all of five years and without any greatest ascetic accomplishment. But after the death of the monk, a certain experienced ascetic was praying that there might be revealed to him the final resting place of the departed fathers of the monastery, and he saw in a dream vision young Dositheos amidst the assemblage of these saints. The Monk Dositheos was vouchsafed great glory in the Kingdom of Heaven for his perfect obedience to the monastic elder and for his full forbearance from his own will.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.