On June 18, the Church celebrates the memory of St Dorotheus. The saint was a pastor of the Church, a confessor, and later a martyr of the faith. According to the place of his ministry in the ancient city on the territory of modern Lebanon, the ancient region of Phoenicia, the saint is called Dorotheus of Tyre.
There is very little information about the saint. According to his life, he was born in the middle of the 3rd century. As a bishop, he suffered for Christ during the Great Persecution of Diocletian (303-313) but survived. In accordance with the tradition of the Ancient Church, as he staunchly survived the persecution, he was called "confessor".
Being a confessor was not only a great honor, but also a particular ministry. Thus, according to the practice of that time, confessors could intercede before the Church for the restoration in church communion of those who had denied Christ during the persecution of Christians.
The signing of the Edict of Milan (313), the holding of the Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (325) and the acceptance of baptism before his death by Constantine (+337) became the stages of the Great Christian Revolution in the Empire, initiated, and inspired by the Emperor himself.
Paradoxically, unexpectedly and asymmetrically, the persecution of Christians gave way to the rapid Christianization of the Empire. As if in fulfillment of the words of Christ: "All power has been given to me, not only not in Heaven, but also on Earth" (cf. Matt. 28:18).
In this rapid change, the contemporaries of that era, among whom the father of church history, Eusebius of Caesarea (265-340), saw an exceptional “double predestination” from heaven, in its irreversibility similar to the sacrament. After all, it seemed to many that henceforth paganism was doomed to disappear, and the whole world to become Christian.
In its irreversibility, it seemed like a sacrament. A baptized person cannot become unbaptized, he can change his confession, but he is not capable of losing his belonging to Christianity, and the Body and Blood of Christ cannot be returned to the state of bread and wine. So then, in the likeness of Fukuyama, many believed that the “end of history” had come, and the time of the triumph of the Church of Christ had begun.
However, after just a quarter of a century, it became obvious that only the "too human" will of the ruler and the conformity of the environment can reverse the history of the world. A classmate of Gregory the Theologian who studied in Athens named Julian came to the throne. Like Christ, surrounded by angelic hosts of the Cherubic Hymn of Orthodox worship, the troops in Paris solemnly raised him to the shield. Julian openly proclaimed himself a pagan and set about restoring polytheism.
The figure of Julian the Apostate was secularly prophetic. From the very beginning, he committed to the consistent dismantling of the consequences of the Christian revolution of Constantine. Like the rulers of modern history, in relation to Christianity, which he despised and feared, he acted as a real counterrevolutionary.
So, he removed Christians from teaching and public positions. In relation to the Church itself, he contributed to the mutual opposition of its constituent parts. For example, he canceled the previous authoritative decrees on the deposition and expulsion of bishops. Thus, as if representing the familiar circumstances of our time, in the same city, at the same time, several bishops began to act.
It is important to note that, declaring a return to the traditional values of the pagan Roman faith, Julian was actually creating a new civil religion. This neo-paganism of Julian borrowed from the Church the polyphonic coherence of its organization in the external, and in its internal life staked on the imitation of constant internal reformation and selflessness in the ministry of Christians.
In this context, witnesses of the past, who remembered and by their very existence testified that paganism fell not as a result of a conspiracy, but itself, in fulfillment of biblical prophecies over all atheism, rotted alive, posed a particular danger to the new policy. It never lived, and therefore was not subject to resurrection. By their very existence, the confessors testified that Christianity is not a religion, not a bureaucracy, but a faith that “conquered the world” by the power of the powerlessness of the Cross of Christ (1 John 5:4). Those who have seen are dangerous to those who abolish the light (cf. John 3:20).
Such a witness of the light was Dorotheus, who lived to the time of Julian. For contemporaries, he was a confessor of faith. But being a confessor
was not only an honor and service, but also a special test, a kind of life imprisonment in Christ. According to the words of the Apostle Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). In the face of the Church and the Universe, the confessor had to keep his faith, and personal impeccability, until the end of his days. Otherwise, he became a radical temptation, repeating, in essence, the sin of Judas (Matt. 26:24).
Such a witness of the world was Dorotheus, who lived to the time of Julian. For contemporaries, he was a confessor of faith. Confession was not only an honor and service, but also a special test, a kind of life imprisonment in Christ. According to the words of the Apostle Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). In the face of the Church and the Universe, the confessor had to keep his faith, and impeccability, until the end of his days. Testimonies about confessors who survived persecution, but subsequently plunged into debauchery, were preserved for the Church in his letters by the heroic martyr of the faith of the Ancient Church, Bishop Cyprian of Carthage (+258).
According to the life, at the time of Julian's accession Dorotheus was about 107 years old. Knowing that age is weakness, illness, and infirmity, and, contrary to generally accepted opinion, it tends to dehumanize, Dorotheus, in accordance with the canons of the Ancient Church of the era of persecution, did not wait for temptation, but moved towards the Balkans. Here, in the vicinity of the former Greek colony of Odessa, present-day Varna in Bulgaria, he was captured and martyred for Christ.
The name "Dorotheus" is translated from Greek as "given by God." Through the prayers of the Church, the saint was given the grace of witness for the faith. The ancient Christians called the days of the death of the martyrs’ birthdays. Thus, after fifty years of ministry and a century after his birth, Saint Dorotheus was born in Christ.
The life did not preserve the details of his suffering. Like the new martyrs of the twentieth century, he was doomed to suffer for the very belonging of the Church, for the memory of the past. In this longevity and memory was his special calling of personal holiness. In such circumstances of difficult old age, his intercession must be invoked. In the Communion of the Saints, old and young, and in Christ having overcome time - "in Beauty, so ancient and so new", called God - St. Dorotheus from Heaven smiles at us from.