Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Dorotheus, Abbot


In his youth Saint Dorotheus had so much aversion to study that he said he would rather touch a serpent than a book; but by perseverance he became so inflamed with love of learning that he forgot to eat or sleep. When he entered the monastery in Palestine, he said, “If intense application to study teaches us the habit of it, surely the practice of virtues will make us Saints.” He made known every thought to his superiors, and was guided by them in all things. When tempted to think he knew what they would tell him, he said, “Accursed be thy judgments, O my soul; all thou hast learnt is from the devil,” and immediately disclosed his whole mind to them. By this means he lived in perfect peace. He said, “If my reason told me the sun was a sun, or darkness was darkness, I would mistrust it and scarcely believe it.” He said he had never preferred himself to another, nor had to reproach himself with one word that could wound another. He suffered many contradictions, sicknesses, and assaults of the devil; but he accepted all from God, saying, “I could easily find many causes for these evils, but it is more true and more useful to believe they are sent by God, who knows how good it is for me to suffer.” Dorotheus died about the year 560.

When a traveller finds a short road to his journey’s end, he is careful to choose it. He who renounces his own will has found a short way of triumphing over his evil inclinations, and ought to profit by it.

He who labours earnestly to renounce his own will, will arrive at the blessed mansion of peace of heart. – Saint Dorotheas

Saint Dorotheus thus describes his mortification of self-will with regard to rest: “Guests came late, and I had to stay with them; their camel drivers arrived afterwards, and had to be attended to. When I was called to church I had hardly taken a few moments sleep; I was overcome by fatigue and consumed by fever; but I answered, ‘I thank thee, my brother; may God reward thy great charity.’ He was hardly gone before I fell asleep again. Distressed that my idleness caused me to miss the Office, I begged one brother to undertake to rouse me, and another to keep me awake in church; and I assure you, I revered them almost as much as if they had saved my soul.”

If thou give to thy soul her desires, she will make thee a joy to thy enemies. — Ecclus. 18:31

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Dorotheus, Abbot”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 8 March 2015. Web. 19 January 2019. <>