On 6 June in the Maronite saints calendar we remember an early Saint of the Church, St Dorotheus who was bishop of the Phoenician city of Tyre in modern day Lebanon.
He lived during the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). He left Tyre and hid from the persecutors andlater returned to Tyre during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great. He converted many of the pagans to Christianity. By the time Saint Dorotheus was 100 years old, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) began openly persecuting Christians. The elderly Bishop went from Tyre to present day Bulgaria and delegates of the emperor arrested him there for his refusal to offer sacrifices to idols. He was tortured and died at the age of 107.
Taking up the call in Matthew 10:23, St Dorotheues withdrew each time persecution was at door:
‘When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.’
He knew this passage when persecution was coming and he knew what he had to do. He did not flee out of fear, he knew that there is more to life than what is here on earth. That takes courage.
We seek St Dorotheus’ intercession for all those who are persecuted because of their faith throughout the world.
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