Dorotheus, Abba of Gaza

August 13

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Saint Dorotheos was born in Antioch, Syria, in the year 506 or 508 A.D. He began his education very early in life and profited from the social statusof his parents. He received a classical education in the Greco-Roman world, which included medical studies, thus allowing him to work as a physician. Despite his great mind, Dorotheos yearned for a life of seclusion in the monastery. He inquired through letters with the holy men Barsanuphius and John (see February 6th) as how to begin the process towards monasticism. Many of these letters exist to this day and provide insight to the life of Dorotheos and his relationship with his mentors.

Dorotheos entered the monastery of Thawatha where Barsanuphius and John lived. His quick mind and advanced education made life in the monastery difficult as he struggled with social encounters and even challenged his abbot when he knew of better ways to run the monastery. This struggle against pride lasted a great while and served as an ongoing lesson for Dorotheos. He worked as assistant to the holy father John and enjoyed this position of communication between John and the rest of the community.

As he progressed in the spiritual life, Dorotheos was given spiritual charge over younger monks to which he was hesitant to accept as he struggled with interactions with others. Despite his reservations, Dorotheos took charge over a young man named Dositheos and taught him the monastic life, a relationship which proved to be difficult but beneficial for both. When John died, Dorotheos left the monastery of Thawatha and founded his own monastery where he took charge of many young monks, training them in the spiritual art.