February 19

From the Prologue

Dositheus was a disciple of the glorious Abba Dorotheus who lived in the cenobitic monastic community of the Venerables Serdius, John and Barsanuphius the Great. Dositheus was a kinsman of a general and came to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Shrines. Once while he was gazing upon the icon of the Dreadful Judgment in a church, a woman clothed in purple attire approached him and began explaining the icon to him. Finally, before parting, she said that if you desire to be saved, you should fast, abstain from meat, and pray to God often. That was the All-Holy Virgin Birthgiver of God [The Theotokos]. The heart of the young Dositheus became inflamed, and he desired the life of a monk. Dorotheus received him as his novice [Iskusenik] and ordered him to completely abandon his will and to obey his spiritual father. For a few days, he gave him as much as he wanted to eat. After a period of time, Dorotheus cut down his rations by one-fourth and after a period of time again, by one-fourth, until Dositheus became accustomed to get by with the least amount of food, always saying to Dositheus: "eating is a habit, and as much as a person is accustomed to eat, that much he will eat." He was saved and glorified by total obedience. He remained forever an example of monastic obedience and dedication to his spiritual father. This young saint lived in the sixth century.



Obedience without murmuring, salvation complete,

Among the spiritual, the first pearl; stone most precious.

This pearl, from Eve's necklace, unraveled,

And after it, all the goods, by God, bestowed.

The devil speaks both then and now: To God, do not listen,

Rather, according to the thoughts of your mind, live only!

Thus speaks the devil from time immemorial who detested the light,

Thus speaking, the disobedient with his noose he fitted.

Christ came, to the people cried out: the obedient He summoned,

To every call, the disobedient did not respond.

The scene of Paradise from Christ until now, repeats itself,

The obedient to Paradise is raised; the disobedient falls.

To his spiritual father, the true monk is obedient,

The father to the Church, the Church to Christ, her Lord.

Obedience, the reliable path toward salvation is,

Of the spiritual necklace; the first light, the first pearl.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas