SAINT DENIS AND COMPANIONS
FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 9TH
The following is from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
ST. DIONYSIUS (DENIS), BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS.
[From St. Greg. of Tours, Hist. Fran. lib. i. c. 30. The acts of their martyrdom extant in Bosquet, Eccl. Gallic. Hist. t. ii. p. 68, 73, were compiled from oral relations about the seventh century, those which were writ by Masses, Bishop of Paris, under Constantius Chlorus, almost contemporary, not being then extant. See Rivet, Hist. Litter. t. iv. p. 38; t. i. par. 1, p. 305 : par. 2, p. 49 ; Tillemont, t. iv. p. 443 ; Dom. Felibien, Hist. de l'Abbaie de St Denys, anno 1707, folio ; Append. p. 162; Du Bois, Hist. Eccl. Paris, t. i. Ord, lib. vii. n. iv.; t. iii. p. 141.]
OF all the Roman missionaries sent into Gaul, St. Dionysius carried the faith the furthest into the country, fixing his see at Paris, and by him and his disciples the sees of Chartres, Senlis, and Meaux were erected,¹ and, shortly after, those of Cologne and others, which we find in a flourishing condition and governed by excellent pastors in the fourth century, witness St. Maternus of Cologne, &c. SS. Fustian and Victoricus, Crispin and Crispinian, Rufiuus and Valerius, Lucian of Beauvais, Quintin, Piaton, Regulus or Riticius of Senlis, and. Marcellus are called disciples or fellow-labourers of St. Dio. nysius, and came from Rome to preach the name of Christ in Gaul. We are assured in the acts of the martyrdom of St. Dionysius that this zealous bishop built a church at Paris, and converted. great numbers to the faith. A glorious martyrdom crowned his labours for the salvation of souls, and the exaltation of the name of Christ.
(1) Gallia Christ. Nova t. i. p. 521; Rivet, t. i. p. 308.
He seems to have suffered in the persecution of Valerian in 272, though some moderns defer his death to the beginning of the reign of Maxirnian Hereuleus, who resided chiefly in Gaul from the year 286 to 292. Ado calls the judge by whom he was condemned, Fescenius. The Acts of his Martyrdom, St. Gregory of Tours, Fortunatus, and the western Martyrologists inform us, that after a long and cruel imprisonment he was beheaded for the faith, together. with Rusticus, a priest; and Eleutherius, a deacon. The Acts add, that the bodies of the martyrs were thrown into the river Seine, but taken up and honourably interred by a Christian lady, named Catalla, not far from the place where they had been beheaded. The Christians soon after built a chapel over their tomb. In 469, through the pious exhortations of St. Genevieve, a church, was raised upon the ruins of this chapel, which was a place of great devotion, much resorted to by pilgrims, as appears from the works of St. Gregory of Tours, in many places, by which it is clear that this church stood without the walls of the city, though very near them. By a donation of Clotaire II., it appears that here was then a religious community governed by an abbot. Degobert, who died in 638, founded ,the great abbey in this place in which he was interred, and which has been, for many ages the usual burial-place of the French kings. Pepin and his son, Charlemagne were principal benefactors to this monastery, which was magnificently rebuilt by abbot Suger. The relics of SS. Dionysius, Rusticus, and Eleutherius are kept here in three silver shrines. The miraculous cure of Pope Stephen II. in this church has been already related. St. Dionysius of France is commonly called St. Denis, from the French Denys. A portion of his relics is said to be possessed by the abbey of St. Emmeran, at Ratisbon.
Those apostolic pastors who converted so many nations to Christ were men filled with his Spirit, who regarded nothing but his glory, and acted and lived for him alone. Christ on earth never entertained any regard but for the glory of his Father, to whom he offered himself and his kingdom. Whoever becomes his minister, must, in like manner, have no aim, no intention but to advance the divine honour: for this he must be dead to the world, and have bid adieu to it, that is, to all desires of honours, applause, pleasures, riches, or any earthly goods whatever. Such a one sees nothing this world which he hopes or desires; nothing that he much fears; he seeks no composition with it while he is engaged in the cause of his master; no threats or apprehensions of terror from its persecution can damp his courage in defending the honour of God, or cool his zeal for the salvation of souls.