Thursday, November 27, 2008

The History of Dorotheos of Thebes

Abba Isidore sends Palladius to live for three years with an anchorite named Dorotheos. Palladius leaves early because of an illness, but then returs to Dorotheos. Although an old man, the anchorite spends his days building cells for monks who do not yet have their own cells-- this involves collecting and carrying stones in the desert heat. Palladius asks him about this:

"Father, why workest thou thus in thine old age? for thou wilt kill thy body in all this heat." And he said unto me, "I kill it lest it should kill me." (91-92)

Palladius observed Dorotheos eat extremely little, and never saw him sleep at all. When questioned about this, the monk replied,

"If thou art able to persuade the angels to sleep, then thou wilt be able to persuade me." (92)

The account concludes with a story of the brotherhood observing a venemous snake slip into the well, and thus fear to drink from the well. Dorotheos makes the sign of the cross over the water and drinks it without fear:

"Where the seal (or sign) of the Cross is, the wickedness of Satan hath no power to do harm." (93)

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