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It was curiosity that prompted Dositheus, the pagan page of an army officer, to journey to Jerusalem, having heard others speak of it as a holy city. At Gethsemane, his attention was drawn to a painting depicting hell. An elderly woman who noticed him staring at the picture explained to him about heaven, hell, and the Last Judgment. This conversation led Dositheus to become a Christian and a monk. In the Palestinian monastery of Gaza, he was gently guided into a life of deep asceticism by an older monk, Saint Dorotheus. Dositheus’ characteristic virtue was his total renunciation of his own will in a spirit of obedience. When beginning to serve in the infirmary, he sometimes lost his temper with the surlier patients, but immediately regretted it, stung with remorse. Rushing back to his cell, he would weep over his sin until his mentor Dorotheus reassured him that God had forgiven him. After only five years as a monk, Dositheus contracted tuberculosis. As he lay on his deathbed, he was consoled by Dorotheus, who told him, “Depart in peace; you shall appear in joy before the Holy Trinity, and there pray for us.”


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