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This saint only gets his feast in leap year

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Daniel Esparza - published on 02/28/24

While information about the life of St. Dositheus is rather limited, his legacy is surely inspiring. This year, especially, his feast is needed.

Dositheus of Palestine, born in the 6th century, is venerated as a saint by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic churches. Considered the patron saint of Gaza, his feast day is celebrated on February 29 – thus, only in leap years.

Dositheus’ life began with a military career. Since Palestine was part of the Byzantine Empire, it is believed that he served as a soldier in the service of Constantinople. However, an unexpected event would change his destiny. While campaigning in Gethsemane (some sources say Golgotha), Dositheus came across a painting depicting the torments of hell. This image, hagiography goes, moved him deeply and caused him to reflect on his life and future.

Shocked by the vision, Dositheus renounced his military career and decided to dedicate his life to God. He returned to his native Gaza and became a monk under the guidance of St. Dorotheus of Gaza – the famous Hermit of Kemet.

Monastic life and legacy

Dositheus became an outstanding disciple of Dorotheus, and ardently embraced the monastic life. He devoted himself to prayer, meditation, and the study of Scripture. His example soon inspired many others to follow the monastic path, devoting themselves to the contemplative life, but also to the welfare of the community. Indeed, Dositheus was widely known known for his charity and work on behalf of the poor and needy.

After his death, Dositheus was soon recognized as a saint. He is celebrated by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Coptic Churches. He is considered one of the patron saints of Gaza, and his feast day is celebrated on February 29, making his commemoration even more special. While information about the life of St. Dositheus is rather limited, his legacy is surely inspiring. His story exemplifies the transformative power of grace and faith to guide people on a path of holiness and service to others.

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