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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

February 23

B. Dositheus, Monk

        From his life, by a fellow-disciple, in Bollandus, p. 38. and from S. Dorotheus, Docum. 1.

DOSITHEUS, a young man who had spent his first years in a worldly manner, and in gross ignorance of the first principles of Christianity, came to Jerusalem on the motive of curiosity to see a place he had heard frequent mention made of in common discourse. Here he became so strongly affected by the sight of a picture representing hell, and by the exposition given him of it by an unknown person, that, on the spot, he forsook the world, and entered into a monastery, where the abbot Seridon gave him the monastic habit, and recommended him to the care of one of his monks, named Dorotheus. This experienced director, sensible of the difficulty of passing from one extreme to another, left his pupil at first pretty much to his own liberty in point of eating, but was particularly careful to instil into him the necessity of a perfect renunciation of his own will in every thing, both great and little. As he found his strength would permit, he daily diminished his allowance, till the quantity of six pounds of bread became reduced to eight ounces. St. Dorotheus proceeded with his pupil after much the same manner in other monastic duties; and thus, by a constant and unreserved denial of his own will, and a perfect submission to his director, he surpassed in virtue the greatest fasters of the monastery. All his actions seemed to have nothing of choice, nothing of his own humour in any circumstance of them, the will of God alone reigned in his heart. At the end of five years he was intrusted with the care of the sick, an office he discharged with such an incomparable vigilance, charity, and sweetness, as procured him a high and universal esteem: the sick in particular were comforted and relieved by the very sight of him. He fell into a spitting of blood and a consumption, but continued to the last denying his own will, and was extremely vigilant to prevent any of its suggestions taking place in his heart; being quite the reverse of those persons afflicted with sickness, who, on that account, think everything allowed them. Unable to do anything but pray, he asked continually, and followed, in all his devotions, the directions of his master; and when he could not perform his long exercises of prayer, he declared this with his ordinary simplicity to St. Dorotheus, who said to him: “Be not uneasy, only have Jesus Christ always present in your heart.” He begged of a holy old man, renowned in that monastery for sanctity, to pray that God would soon take him to himself. The other answered: “Have a little patience, God’s mercy is near.” Soon after he said to him: “Depart in peace, and appear in joy before the blessed Trinity, and pray for us.” The same servant of God declared after his death, that he had surpassed the rest in virtue, without the practice of any extraordinary austerity. Though he is honoured with the epithet of saint, his name is not placed either in the Roman or Greek calendars.