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February 6

St Dorothy of Caesarea - February 6

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea
Virgin, Martyr
(Around 3rd Century – 311)

“Blessed be Thou, O Thou Lover of souls’ who dost call me to Paradise, and invited me to Thy nuptial chamber.”

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea

Saint’s Life Story

Her Life  

Dorothy (also known as Dora or Dorothea) was born around the end of the 3rd century. Details of her actual birth date and her youth are sparse. Dorothy made a personal vow of virginity at a young age. She dedicated her life to the service of God and refused to marry or offer sacrifices to idols. Dorothy was a devout Christian maiden who, undeterred by the oppressive Roman rule, stood firm in her faith, personifying righteousness and unwavering devotion. Praised for her beauty, wisdom, and virtue, her life journey, despite being marked by trials and tribulations, represents the triumph of faith over fear. Her parents seem to have been martyred before her in the persecution by Roman Emperor, Diocletian.

Her Legend and Martyrdom

Dorothy’s unwavering commitment to her faith set her on a path of martyrdom. When the Prefect or Governor Sapricius came to Caesarea, he called Dorothy before him, and sent this child of martyrs to the home where they were waiting for her. Then, Dorothy was stretched upon the rack, and offered marriage if she would consent to sacrifice, or death if she refused.

But Dorothy replied, that “Christ was her only Spouse, and death her desire.” She was then placed in charge 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.

When Dorothy was set once more on the rack, Sapricius himself was amazed at the heavenly look she wore, and asked her the cause of her joy.

“Because,” Dorothy said, “I have brought back two souls to Christ, and because I shall soon be in heaven rejoicing with the angels.” Her joy grew as she was buffeted in the face, and her sides burnt with plates of red-hot iron. “Blessed be Thou,” she cried, when she was sentenced to be beheaded, – “blessed be Thou, O Thou Lover of souls’ who dost call me to Paradise, and invited me to Thy nuptial chamber.”

As a result, Dorothy was subjected to severe torture and brought before the pagan lawyer, Theophilus, for trial. Theophilus, who had been used to persecute the Christians, asked her, in mockery, “Bride of Christ, send me some fruits from your bridegroom’s garden.” Undeterred by his mockery, Dorothy responded with grace and resilience.

Before her execution, Dorothy sent Theophilus her headdress, which emitted a heavenly fragrance of roses and fruits. Interestingly, this message was delivered by a six-year-old boy who is believed to have been an angel in disguise.

Witnessing this miraculous gift and encountering the celestial messenger, Saint Theophilus experienced a profound conversion and publicly declared his faith in Christ. However, his newfound faith led him to share the same fate as Dorothy, ultimately suffering martyrdom on the rack for his beliefs.

On February 6, 311 in Caesarea Mazaca, Cappodocia (modern day Kayseri, Turkey), Dorothy was beheaded with a sword. The story of Saint Dorothy of Caesarea has been embellished and expanded over the years, becoming a beloved tale of bravery and devotion. In some regions, trees are blessed on her feast day due to her association with a blooming and fruitful miracle. Saint Dorothy is often depicted in religious art wearing a crown of flowers or roses, symbolizing her spiritual purity and devotion.

Born :                  Around late 3rd Century in unknown location

Died:                   February 6, 311 in Caesarea Mazaca, Cappodocia (modern day Kayseri, Turkey)

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          February 6

Patron Saint:     Brewers; Brides; Florists; Gardeners; Midwives; Newlyweds; Pescia, Italy

Source:

Reflection

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea’s refusal to renounce her Christian faith, even under the threat of torture and death, demonstrates her unwavering commitment to Christ. Her martyrdom serves as a powerful witness to the strength and endurance of faith, inspiring Christians throughout the ages to remain steadfast in their beliefs, regardless of the consequences.

While you may not face martyrdom like Saint Dorothy of Caesarea, what can you do to be a powerful witness inspiring everyone you encounter today by the strength of your Christian faith?

Prayers

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea,

You, as a young virgin, displayed unwavering faith and courage, even in the face of severe adversity resulting in your martyrdom.

May you intercede for us and inspire us to stand firm in our beliefs,

May we find strength and courage in times of trial and persecution and remain steadfast in our devotion to Christ.

Help us to trust in God’s providence and to seek His guidance and protection in all that we do.

Saint Dorothy of Caesarea, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Dorothy of Caesarea – Martyr

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 6 February – St Dorothy of Caesarea (Died 311) Virgin, Martyr

Bartleby – Rev. Alban Butler. Volume II: February. The Lives of the Saints. February 6 St. Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr

Catholic Online – St. Dorothy

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Dorothy of Caesarea – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Christian Iconography – Saint Dorothy: The Iconography

Go to Mary – Saint Dorothea of Caesarea

Independent Catholic News – St Dorothy

New Advent – Meier, G. (1909). St. Dorothea. In The Catholic Encyclopedia.

Orthodox Church in America – Virgin Martyr Dorothy at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and those with her

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of Saint Dorothy of Caesarea

Sanctoral – Saint Dorothy Virgin and Martyr († 304)

Video Link

St. Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr (6 February) ~ Dom Prosper Guéranger – YouTube (Sensus Fidelium)