Cider Musings

Dorothy of Caesarea

During the Middle Ages collections of hagiography were among the most widely circulated texts, serving as inspirational stories as well as instructional. The legends of virgins martyrs were particularly popular. One such is Saint Dorothy, her cult was very popular in Catholic English Middle Ages; first noted in 1438. Factually very little is known about her. Unknown in Greek texts and venerated since 7th Century she was first written about in Italy in the 5th C

Dorothea was said to be persecuted during the Persecutions of Diocletian and martyred on 6 February, 311, at Caesarea in Cappadocia. The oldest tale has her brought before the prefect Sapricius, tried, tortured, and sentenced to death for not renouncing her Christian faith which included being a Bride of God ie a virgin and spurned a suitor who then betrayed her. On her way to the place of execution the pagan lawyer Theophilus said to her in mockery: "Bride of Christ, send me some fruits from your bridegroom's garden." Just before she was executed she took off her headdress and sent it him, by a six-year-old boy who as there, in a basket , Theophilus found her headdress to be filled with a heavenly fragrance of roses and fruits. Theophilus at once confessed himself a Christian, was put on the rack, and suffered death as well! The tale becomes more elaborate over time.

She is officially recognised as a virgin martyr. However, with the promulgation of motu proprio Mystery Paschalis of Pope Paul VI on 14 February 1969 Dorothea was removed from the General Roman Calendar , being judged as not having "universal significance. 😥