Saint Dorothy, Virgin, Martyr

February 6

Today is the feast day of Saint Dorothy.  Ora pro nobis. 

Saint Dorothy was a virgin martyred at Caesarea in Cappadocia in about A.D. 313, during the persecution of the Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian. (1) Her parents are believed to have been martyred before her in the Diocletian persecution (2) She had refused to marry or to worship idols and was, therefore, sentenced to death. (1)

Saint Dorothy is said that she converted two apostate women sent to seduce her: and that being condemned to be beheaded, she converted one Theophilus, by sending him certain fruits and flowers miraculously obtained of her heavenly spouse.  (4)

While awaiting execution, she explained that the God she adored was majestic — above all emperors, who were mortal, and their gods, none of whom created either heaven or earth. She was stretched upon the rack, and offered honors if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused. And they waited. She asked why they delayed to torture her; they were expecting she might cede out of fright. She said to them, Do what you have to do, that I may see the One for whose love I fear neither death nor torments, Jesus Christ. She was asked, Where is this Christ? and she replied: As Almighty He is everywhere, but for weak human reason we say that the Son of God has ascended into heaven, to be seated at the right hand of the Almighty Father. It is He who invites us to the garden of His delights, where at all times the trees are covered with fruits, the lilies are perpetually white, the roses ever in their freshness. If you believe me, you too will search for the true liberty, and will labor to earn entry into the garden of God’s delights. She was then placed in the custody of two women who had fallen away from the faith, in the hope that they might pervert her; but the fire of her own heart rekindled the flame in theirs, and led them back to Christ. (2)

Her body is kept in the celebrated church which bears her name, beyond the Tiber, in Rome. (4)

St. Dorothy is always represented with the basket of roses; sometimes there are also apples. (2)

Image: The St. Dorothy, artist: Lucas Cranach the Elder, circa 1530. (5)

Research by REGINA Staff


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