Introduction to Dorotheos of Gaza

I have said here that Dorotheos is my kind of guy. As we prepare for our Lenten reading from Dorotheos of Gaza: Discourses and Sayings I thought a little more introduction to him would be helpful. This book has an excellent and lengthy introduction of the life and times of Dorotheos of Gaza.  What I find most intriguing is knowing Dorotheos and not just the details of his life. Dorotheos would probably best be translated to mean “a gift offered to God” or a “gift of God.” We are not sure when he died, or of what, but it was probably around 560-580 A.D.

Here are just a couple of highlights from the introduction:

“Like all the saints, Dorotheos’ spiritual life was no easy one. He had difficulty in giving up his possessions completely…he was rather talkative by nature… and there was a prolonged period when he was a prey to temptations of the flesh which were so severe that he was at times on the border of despair.” (Page 46)

“What I resolve to do when I am alone, I let slip when I am with the brethren. I am afraid of falling into habits of sin.” (Page 49)

“When I am at peace and in recollection in my cell, I get a message to carry out some special duty. I go and do it, but when it is done I don’t go back to my cell, but stay around on one pretext or another, doing this and that, and I get tied up with things that can well go on without any need for my intervention. Then I get back to my cell in the evening, full of dryness and disgust with the things of the spirit, full of darkness and spiritual sloth and discouragement.” (Page 49)

He had trouble with discernment. He would pray for a long time and still could not be certain whether something was God’s will or not. (Page 49)

In Dorotheos we find a real live human being who committed himself to the struggle of becoming like God. Blessed Dorotheos interceed with the merciful God for us!


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