(1) Virgin and martyr, suffered during the persecution of Diocletian, 6
February, 311, at Caesarea in Cappadocia. She was brought before the prefect
Sapricius, tried, tortured, and sentenced to death. 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. Before she was executed, she
sent him, by a six-year-old boy, her headdress which was found 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. This is the oldest version
of the legend, which was later variously enlarged. Dorothea is represented with
an angel and a wreath of flowers. She is regarded as the patroness of gardeners.
On her feast trees are blessed in some places. In the West she has been
venerated since the seventh century.
(2) ST. DOROTHEA OF MONTAU, recluse, born at Montau, 6
February, 1347, d. at Marienwerder, 25 June, 1394. At the age of seventeen she
married the sword-cutler Albrecht of Danzig, a hot-tempered man, whose nature
underwent a change through her humility and gentleness. Both made grequent
pilgrimages to Cologne, Aachen, and Einsiedeln, and they intended (1390) to
visit Rome also; but Albrecht was prevented by illness and remained at home
where he died, while Dorothea journeyed to Rome alone. Of their nine children
all died, except one daughter who joined the Benedictines. In the summer of 1391
Dorothea moved to Marienwerder, and on 2 May, 1393, with the permission of the
chapter and of the Teutonic Order, established a hermitage near the cathedral.
She led a very austere life. Numerous visitors sought her advice and consolation,
and she had wonderful visions and revelations. Her confessor, the deacon John of
Marienwerder, a learned theologian, wrote down her communications and composed a
Latin biography in seven books,
Septililium, besides a German life in four
books. She was never canonized, but the people honoured her as the guardian of
the country of the Teutonic Knights and Patroness of Prussia. Her feast is
celebrated on 25 June, in some places on 30 October. The church at Marienwerder
is now in the hands of the Lutherans; her relics cannot be found.
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