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St. Domnica of Constantinople icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Domnica, Dominica, of Constantinople.
Commemorated January 8th.
Saint Domnica came from Carthage to Constantinople in the time of the holy Emperor Theodosius the Great. Here she was baptized by Patriarch Nectarius and entered a women's monastery. Through strict and prolonged ascetic effort she attained to high spiritual perfection. The saint healed the sick, demonstrated power over the natural elements, and predicted the future. By her miracles the saint moved inhabitants of the capital towards concerns about life eternal and the soul. Adorned by virtues, the saint departed this life a spotless virgin in her old age.
St. Dorotheus of Gaza icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Dorotheus of Gaza (Dorotheos, Icon of 12 cent. Monastery of Doinysiou Mount Athos.
Commemorated August 13th.
"The Holy Abba Dorotheus was a disciple of St John the Prophet in the Palestinian monastery of Abba Seridus in the sixth century. In his youth he had zealously studied secular science. "When I sought worldly knowledge," wrote the abba, "it was very difficult at first. When I would come to take a book, I was like a man about to touch a wild beast. When I forced myself to study, then God helped me, and diligence became such a habit that I did not know what I ate, what I drank, whether I had slept, nor whether I was warm or not.
I was oblivious to all this while reading. I could not be dragged away by my friends for meals, nor would I even talk with them while I was absorbed in reading. When the philosopher let us go, I went home and washed, and ate whatever was prepared for me. After Vespers, I lit a lamp and continued reading until midnight." So absorbed was Abba Dorotheus in his studies at that time. He devoted himself to monastic activity with an even greater zeal.
Upon entering the monastery, he says in his tenth Instruction, he decided that his study of virtue ought to be more fervent than his occupation with secular science had been. For ten years Abba Dorotheus was cell-attendant for St John the Prophet (Feb. 6). He was happy to serve the Elder in this obedience, even kissing the door to his cell with the same feeling as another might bow down before the holy Cross.
Distressed that he was not fulfilling the word of St Paul that one must enter the Kingdom of Heaven through many tribulations (Acts 14:22), Abba Dorotheus revealed this thought to the Elder. St John replied, "Do not be sad, and do not allow this to distress you. You are in obedience to the Fathers, and this is a fitting delight to the carefree and calm." Besides the Fathers at the monastery of Abba Seridus, St Dorotheus visited and listened to the counsels of other great ascetics of his time, among whom was Abba Zosima.
After the death of St John the Prophet, when Abba Barsanuphius took upon himself complete silence, St Dorotheus left the monastery of Abba Seridus and founded another monastery, the monks of which he guided until his own death. Abba Dorotheus wrote 21 Discourses, several Letters, and 87 Questions with written Answers by Sts Barsanuphius the Great and John the Prophet.
In manuscript form are 30 Talks on Asceticism, and written counsels of Abba Zosima. The Discourses of Abba Dorotheus are preliminary books for entering upon the path of spiritual action. The simple advice, how to proceed in this or that instance, together with a most subtle analysis of thoughts and stirrings of soul provide guidance for anyone who resolves to read the works of Abba Dorotheus. Monks who begin to read this book, will never part from it throughout their life.The works of Abba Dorotheus are to be found in every monastery library and are constantly reprinted. Dorotheus died ca. 560.
St. Drosis the Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Drosis the Martyr.
Commemorated March 22.
The Holy Martyr Drosis, together with Five Virgin-Martyrs Agalida, Apollinaria, Daria, Mamthusa and Thais: St Drosis was daughter of the emperor Trajan (98-117), a fierce persecutor of Christians. In the year 99 he revived an earlier law which forbade secret gatherings and was indirectly aimed against Christians. In the year 104 he issued a special law against Christians.
Beginning in that year, the persecutions continued until the end of his reign. During this time the bodies of martyred Christians often remained unburied in order to intimidate others. Five Christian virgins: Aglaida, Apolliniaria, Daria, Mamthusa and Thais, took upon themselves the task of burying such Christians. They secretly gathered up the bodies of martyrs, anointed them with spices, wrapped them in shrouds and buried them. When she learned of this, Drosis, a secret Christian but not yet baptized, asked the holy virgins to take her with them when they went to bury Christians.
On the advice of the court dignitary Adrian, a guard was set over those who had been killed, to arrest anyone who tried to bury them. On the very first night, St Drosis and the five virgins were caught. Learning that one of the captives was his own daughter, Trajan gave orders to hold her separately, in the hope that she would change her mind.
The remaining holy virgins were sentenced to burning in a furnace for melting copper. They bravely accepted execution and were granted crowns of martyrdom. The copper, mingled with the ashes of the martyrs, was used to make tripods for a new bath of Trajan. But as long as these tripods stood in the bath-house, no man was able to enter it. Anyone crossing the threshold fell down dead. When the pagan priests realized why this happened, they advised that the tripods be removed.
Adrian told the emperor to melt the tripods and to make five statues of naked virgins, in the likeness of the Martyrs. Then he said that these statues should be placed before the entrance to the imperial bath. Trajan agreed. When the statues were set up, the emperor saw in a dream five pure lambs pastured in Paradise, and the Shepherd who said to him, “O most wanton and wicked Caesar! Those whose images you placed there to be mocked have been taken away from you and brought here by the Good and Merciful Pastor. In time your daughter, the pure lamb Drosis, shall also be here.”
When he awoke, Trajan flew into a rage and ordered two huge furnaces to be heated. At the ovens an imperial edict was posted: “You who worship the Crucified, save yourselves many agonies, and spare us also from these labors. Offer sacrifice to the gods. If you do not wish to do this, however, then let each of you voluntarily cast himself into this furnace.” Many Christians willingly went to martyrdom.
When she heard of this, St Drosis also decided to endure martyrdom for Christ. In her prison she offered prayers asking the Lord to release her. God heard her prayer, amd the guards fell asleep. St Drosis went off to the ovens, but began to wonder: “How can I go to God without a wedding garment (i.e., without being baptized), for I am impure. But, O King of Kings, Lord Jesus Christ, for Your sake I give up my imperial position, so that I may be the lowliest handmaiden in Your Kingdom. Baptize me Yourself with your Holy Spirit.”
After praying in this manner, St Drosis anointed herself with myrrh [chrism], which she had taken along with her, and immersing herself in water three times, she said: “the servant of God Drosis is baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” For seven days the saint hid, spending her time in fasting and prayer. Christians found her and learned from her everything that occurred. On the eighth day, the holy Martyr Drosis went to the red-hot ovens and cast herself into the fire.Reference: OCA
St. Dymphna the Virgin- Martyr icon
Orthodox icon of Saint Dymphna, the Virgin- Martyr. of Ireland. Contemporary icon.
Commemorated May 15.