mardi 9 octobre 2012

Saint DENIS, évêque, et ses compagnons, saint ÉLEUTHÈRE et saint RUSTIQUE, martyrs


Saint Denis et ses Compagnons

Martyrs

(vers l'an 117)

D'après une très respectable tradition, saint Denis, évêque de Paris, au 1er siècle, est bien cet illustre Athénien converti par l'Apôtre des nations. Il sacrifia la gloire, la fortune, l'amitié, tout dans ce monde, pour prêcher l'Évangile. Formé à l'école du grand Apôtre, doué d'une rare intelligence, il devait par sa science, ses écrits, ses vertus, qui lui ont fait donner le nom d'homme céleste et divin, devenir l'une des premières gloires du christianisme naissant.

Après avoir gouverné quelques temps l'Église d'Athènes en qualité d'évêque, il prit avec lui le prêtre Rustique et le diacre Éleuthère, traversa la mer et vint à Rome, où il se présenta au Pape saint Clément pour évangéliser les peuples qu'il lui assignerait. Le saint Pape l'envoya, avec un groupe de prédicateurs apostoliques, à la conquête spirituelle des Gaules.

Confiant à quelques-uns de ses disciples plusieurs parties de cette vaste contrée, il s'avança jusqu'à Paris, qui alors s'appelait encore Lutèce. Il y entra du côté de la porte Saint-Jacques, avec ses deux premiers compagnons, et parla si éloquemment des mystères du christianisme, qu'il convertit dès l'abord une foule de païens; plusieurs chapelles furent construites, l'Évangile faisait des progrès rapides, quand le démon suscita une terrible persécution contre ce nouveau culte, qui menaçait de tout envahir.

Denis, âgé de plus de cent ans, donna l'exemple de la fermeté dans les supplices, et son courage fortifia celui de sa chrétienté au berceau; ni la prison, ni les fouets, ni le feu, n'ébranlèrent sa constance. Attaché à une Croix il y prêcha le grand mystère de la Rédemption du monde; enfin, après avoir eu le bonheur de célébrer le Saint Sacrifice de la Messe dans sa prison, devant ses compagnons de supplice, consolé par l'apparition du Sauveur, il eut la tête tranchée, avec une foule de chrétiens, au lieu qui porte le nom de Montmartre, ou Mont-des-Martyrs. Dieu permit qu'après l'exécution son corps se leva de lui-même, pour porter sa tête entre ses mains, à deux lieues de là, au lieu appelé Saint-Denis, en souvenir de ce fait mémorable.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950

SOURCE : http://magnificat.ca/cal/fr/saints/saint_denis_eveque_et_ses_compagnons.html





Saints Denis, évêque, Rustique et Eleuthère, martyrs

Depuis l’inscription au calendrier de St Jean Léonardi en 1940, St Denis et ses compagnons ne sont plus que commémorés dans l’Eglise universelle. En France, dans beaucoup de diocèses, on dit la messe suivante en rajoutant les oraisons de St Jean Léonardi.

Martyrs au IIIème siècle. Ste Geneviève fit construire une basilique sur leur tombeau vers 475. Au IXème siècle se propagea la légende selon laquelle Denis de Paris, Denis l’Aréopagite et Denis le mystique seraient le même personnage.

Leçons des Matines (avant 1960)

Quatrième leçon. Denis, Athénien et membre de l’Aréopage, était un personnage versé en toutes sortes de sciences. On rapporte qu’étant encore imbu des erreurs du paganisme, il remarqua que le soleil s’éclipsa, contrairement aux lois ordinaires, le jour où notre Seigneur fut crucifié, et qu’il s’écria : « Ou c’est le Dieu de la nature qui souffre, ou c’est la destruction de la machine du monde qui s’annonce. » Lorsque saint Paul, venu à Athènes et conduit à l’Aréopage, eut expliqué la doctrine qu’il prêchait, affirmant que le Seigneur Jésus-Christ était ressuscité et que tous les morts reviendraient à la vie, Denis crut en Jésus-Christ et, avec lui, beaucoup d’autres.

Cinquième leçon. Baptisé par l’Apôtre, il se vit confier l’administration de l’Église d’Athènes et, comme il était ensuite venu à Rome, le Pape saint Clément l’envoya prêcher l’Évangile dans les Gaules. Le Prêtre Rustique et le Diacre Éleuthère l’accompagnèrent jusqu’à Paris, où, ayant converti un grand nombre d’infidèles, Denis fut, pour ce motif, battu de verges avec ses compagnons, par ordre du préfet Fescennius. N’en continuant pas moins de prêcher la foi chrétienne, il fut saisi de nouveau, jeté sur un gril au-dessus d’un brasier, et endura encore plusieurs autres supplices avec ceux qu’il s’était associé.

Sixième leçon. Ces divers tourments, tous trois les subirent courageusement et avec joie. Denis, qui était âgé de plus de cent ans, eut enfin la tête tranchée, ainsi que Rustique et Éleuthère, le septième jour des ides d’octobre. On rapporte de ce saint Évêque, qu’il prit dans ses mains sa tête coupée, et la porta l’espace de deux mille pas. Il a composé des ouvrages admirables et vraiment célestes sur les Noms divins, la Hiérarchie céleste et ecclésiastique, la Théologie mystique, et quelques autres écrits.

SOURCE : http://www.introibo.fr/09-10-Sts-Denis-eveque-Rustique-et


Saint Denis, Évêque de Paris, au Ier siècle, quoiqu’une certaine critique prétende le nier, est bien cet illustre Athénien converti par l’Apôtre des nations, saint Paul. Il sacrifia la gloire, la fortune, l’amitié, tout dans ce monde, pour prêcher l’Évangile. Formé à l’école du grand Apôtre, doué d’une rare intelligence, il devait par sa science, ses écrits, ses vertus, qui lui ont fait donner le nom d’homme céleste et divin, devenir l’une des premières gloires du Christianisme naissant.

Après avoir gouverné quelque temps l’Église d’Athènes en qualité d’Évêque, il prit avec lui le prêtre Rustique et le diacre Éleuthère, traversa la mer et vint à Rome, où il se présenta au pape saint Clément pour évangéliser les peuples qu’il lui assignerait.

Le saint Pape l’envoya, avec un groupe de prédicateurs apostoliques, à la conquête spirituelle des Gaules. Confiant à quelques-uns de ses disciples plusieurs parties de cette vaste contrée, il s’avança jusqu’à Paris, qui alors s’appelait encore Lutèce. Il y entra du côté de la porte Saint-Jacques, avec ses deux premiers compagnons, et parla si éloquemment des mystères du Christianisme, qu’il convertit dès l’abord une foule de païens ; plusieurs chapelles furent construites, l’Évangile faisait des progrès rapides, quand le démon suscita une terrible persécution contre ce nouveau culte, qui menaçait de tout envahir.

Saint Denis, âgé de plus de cent ans, donna l’exemple de la fermeté dans les supplices, et son courage fortifia celui de sa Chrétienté au berceau ; ni la prison, ni les fouets, ni le feu, n’ébranlèrent sa constance.

Attaché à une croix, il y prêcha le grand mystère de la Rédemption du monde ; enfin, après avoir eu le bonheur de célébrer le saint Sacrifice de la Messe dans sa prison, devant ses compagnons de supplices, consolé par l’apparition du Sauveur, il eut la tête tranchée, avec une foule de Chrétiens, vers l’an 117, saint Sixte Ier étant pape et Hadrien empereur romain, au lieu qui porte le nom de Montmartre, ou Mont-des-Martyrs.

Dieu permit qu’après l’exécution son corps se levât de lui-même, pour porter sa tête entre ses mains, à deux lieues de là, au lieu appelé Saint-Denis, en souvenir de ce fait mémorable.

SOURCE : http://www.cassicia.com/FR/Vie-de-St-Denis-l-areopagite-premier-Eveque-d-Athenes-premier-Eveque-de-Paris-Fete-le-9-octobre-Martyrise-en-117-avec-ses-Compagnons-St-Rustique-Pretre-et-St-Eleuthere-Diacre-et-une-foule-de-Chretiens-sur-le-Mont-des-Martyrs-ou-Montmartre-No_391.htm



St. Denis & Companions

The first mention we have of these three martyrs who died around 258 A.D. comes in the sixth century in the writings of Saint Gregory of Tours.

Denis (or Dionysius as he is also called) is the most famous of the three. Born and raised in Italy, he was sent as a missionary to Gaul (now France) circa 250 A.D. by Pope St. Clement along with five other bishops.

Denis made his base of missionary activity an island in the Seine near the Roman city of Lutetia Parisorium — what would become Paris. For this reason he is know as the first bishop of Paris and the Apostle of France. There he was captured by the Parisians along with St. Rusticus and St. Eleutherius. Later writers have referred to these as Denis’ priest and deacon, or his deacon and subdeacon, but we have no further information on them.

After a long imprisonment and several aborted executions, the three martyrs were beheaded with a sword and their bodies were thrown into the Seine river. Denis’ body was retrieved from the Seine by his converts and buried. The chapel that was built over his tomb grew into the abbey of Saint-Denis.
In the ninth century, Denis’ story and identity became fused and confused with Dionysius the Areopagite and Pseudo-Dionysius, but later scholarship has re-established his identity as a separate saint. St. Denis is pictured as he was martyred — headless (with a vine growing over the neck) and carrying his own mitred head.

Recognized since the time of St. Gregory as a special saint of Paris, Denis is the patron saint of France.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/saint-denis/



Portrait de Denys l'Aréopagite dans un manuscrit byzantin offert à l'abbaye de Saint-Denis 
musée du Louvre, vers 1403-1405.

St. Denis

Bishop of Paris, and martyr. Born in Italy, nothing is definitely known of the time or place, or of his early life. His feast is kept on 9 October. He is usually represented with his head in his hands because, according to the legend, after his execution the corpse rose again and carried the head for some distance. That, however, while still very young he was distinguished for his virtuous life, knowledge of sacred things, and firm faith, is proved by the fact that Pope Fabian (236-250) sent him with some other missionary bishops to Gaul on a difficult mission. The Church of Gaul had suffered terribly under the persecution of the Emperor Decius and the new messengers of Faith were to endeavour to restore it to its former flourishing condition. Denis with his inseparable companions, the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius, arrived in the neighbourhood of the present city of Paris and settled on the island in the Seine. The earliest document giving an account of his labours and of his martyrdom (Passio SS. Dionsyii, Rustici et Eleutherii), dating from the end of the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century and wrongly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, is interwoven with much legend, from which, however, the following facts can be gleaned.

On the island in the Seine Denis built a church and provided for a regular solemnization of the Divine service. His fearless and indefatigable preaching of the Gospel led to countless conversions. This aroused the envy, anger and hatred of the heathen priests. They incited the populace against the strangers and importuned the governor Fescenninus Sisinnius to put a stop by force to the new teaching. Denis with his two companions were seized and as they persevered in their faith were beheaded (about 275) after many tortures. Later accounts give a detailed description of the confessors' sufferings. They were scourged, imprisoned, racked, thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and finally beheaded. Gregory of Tours simply states: "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit" (Hist. Franc. I, 30). The bodies of the three holy martyrs received an honourable burial through the efforts of a pious matron named Catulla and a small shrine was erected over their graves. This was later on replaced by a beautiful basilica (egregium templum) which Venantius celebrated in verse (Carm. I, ii).

From the reign of King Dagobert (622-638) the church and the Benedictine monastery attached to it were more and more beautifully adorned; the veneration of St. Denis became by degrees a national devotion, rulers and princes vying with one another to promote it. This development is due in no small degree to an error prevailing throughout the Middle Ages, which identified St. Denis of Paris with St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and with the Pseudo-Dionysius, the composer of the Areopagitic writings. The combining of these three persons in one was doubtless effected as early as the eighth or perhaps the seventh century, but it was only through the "Areopagitica" written in 836 by Hilduin, Abbot of Saint-Denis, at the request of Louis the Pious, that this serious error took deep root. The investigations of Launoy first threw doubt on the story and the Bollandist de Bye entirely rejected it. Hilduin was probably deceived by the same apocryphal Latin and Greek fictions. The possession of the Areopagitic writings (since 827 in Saint-Denis) strengthened his conviction of this truth. Historiographers of the present day do not dispute this point. All attempts of Darras, Vidieu, C. Schneider, and others to throw some light on the subject have proved fruitless.


Stiglmayr, Joseph. "St. Denis." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 10 Oct. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04721a.htm>.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04721a.htm



St. Dionysius, Bishop of Paris, and His Companions, Martyrs

From St. Greg. of Tours, Hist. Fran. l. 1, c. 30. The acts of their martyrdom extant in Bosquet, Eccl. Gallic. Hist. t. 2, p. 68, 73, were compiled from oral relations about the seventh century, those which were written by Massus, bishop of Paris, under Constantius Chlorus, almost contemporary, not being then extant. See Rivet, Hist. Littér. t. 4, p. 38, t. 1, part 1, p. 305, part 2, p. 49. Tillemont, t. 4, p. 443. Dom. Felibien, Hist. de l’Abbaie de St. Denys, anno 1707, folio. Append. p. 162. Du Bois, Hist. Eccl. Paris, t. 1. Orsi, l. 7, n. 4, t. 3, p. 141.

A.D. 272.

THE FAITH is said by some to have been planted in part of Gaul by St. Luke, and especially by St. Crescens, a disciple of St. Paul. The churches of Marseilles, Lyons, and Vienne were indebted for the light of the gospel to Asiatic or Grecian preachers, though they had received their mission and orders from the apostolic see of Rome. For Pope Innocent I. positively affirms 1 that no one had established churches in the Gauls, or in Spain or Africa, but persons who had been ordained bishops by St. Peter and his successors. The history of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, in 177, 2 proves the nourishing state of those churches in the second century. St. Irenæus very much advanced the faith in Gaul, and left many eminent disciples behind him, though two of the most illustrious among them, Caius and St. Hippolytus, left Gaul, and displayed their abilities and zeal in Italy and other foreign countries. Nevertheless, the light of the gospel did not spread its beams so early upon the remoter parts of Gaul, as is expressly affirmed by St. Sulpicius Severus, 3 and in the Acts of St. Saturninus. St. Germanus of Paris and seven other French bishops, in a letter to St. Radegondes, 4 say, that the faith having been planted in Gaul, in the very birth of Christianity, made its progress slowly till the divine mercy sent thither St. Martin in 360. Numerous churches, however, were established before that time in most parts of that country, by seven bishops sent thither by the bishop of Rome to preach the gospel. 5

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, 6 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. Fuscian and Victoricus, Crispin and Crispinian, Rufinus and Valerius, Lucian of Beauvais, Quintin, Piaton, Regulus or Riticius of Senlis, and Marcellus are called disciples or fellow-labourers of St. Dionysius, 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. 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 Maximian Herculeus, who resided chiefly in Gaul from the year 286 to 292. Ado calls the judge by whom he was condemned Fescenninus. 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. Geneviève, 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. Dagobert, 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. 7 The miraculous cure of Pope Stephen II. in this church has been already related. 8 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. 9

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 in 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.

Note 1. Ep. ad Victr. Conc. t. 2. p. 1245. [back]

Note 2. See June 2. [back]

Note 3. Sulpic. Sev. l. 2, p. 381. [back]

Note 4. Ap. S. Greg. Turon. l. 9, c. 39. [back]

Note 5. Their names are St. Trophimus of Arles, St. Gatin of Tours, St. Paul of Narbonne, St. Saturninus of Toulouse, St. Dionysius of Paris, St. Austremonius of Clermont, and St. Martialis of Limoges. St. Gregory of Tours, (Hist. Fr. l. 1, c. 28, p. 22, ed. Ruin.) quoting the Acts of the Martyrdom of St. Saturninus, places the mission of all these preachers together in the consulate of Decius and Gratus, that is, in the year 250. Hence Tillemont, Baillet, and some other critics pretend the faith in Gaul was chiefly confined to the territory of Lyons and Vienne till the middle of the third century: in which they are certainly mistaken. For the Acts of St. Saturninus fix only the mission of St. Saturninus in the aforesaid year, and it is certain that several of the rest came into Gaul a considerable time before him. (See this demonstrated by F. Pagi, ad ann. 255, n. 6. Ruinart in Acta Sancti Saturnini. Dom Dionysius of Ste. Marthe, Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 1, p. 520, &c.) That Marcianus who favoured the error of Novatian was bishop of Arles in the reign of Decius, is evident from St. Cyprian, (ep. 67, Pam. 68, ed. Oxon.) who mentions his colleagues or fellow-bishops in Gaul, and that he had then sat many years at Arles. St. Regulus was bishop of Arles before him, as appears from the ancient list of the bishops of that see, and from the sixty-seventh letter of St. Cyprian to St. Stephen. St. Trophimus preceded them both in that see, and must have preached in Gaul before St. Pothinus was bishop of Lyons, seeing Pope Zosimus testifies of St. Trophimus, that “from the fountain of his preaching all the Gauls received the streams of faith.” (Zosimus. ep. ad episc. Gall. apud Baron. ad ann. 417. Coutan, in Epist. Pontif. Rom. De Marca, De Primat. p. 169.) Though some think the church of Lyons, founded by the Asiatics or Greeks, may perhaps be excepted from this number; but nothing proves that St. Pothinus received not his orders at Arles or Rome; which the positive testimonies of St. Innocent I. and Zosimus seem clearly to evince. Arles being the metropolis of the first Roman province in Gaul, and the seat of the prefect of all Gaul, and afterwards of the prefect of the prætorium, till Maximian Herculeus, Constantius Chlorus. Cæsar, and some others made Triers for some time the imperial seat in the West, it was natural to presume that the first bishop established in Gaul should fix his residence at Arles. That St. Paul made St. Crescens first bishop of Vienne is maintained by De Marca, (Ep. ad Henric. Vales. Eusebii ed. Vales. præfixa,) Natalis Alexander, (Hist. Sæc. 1, diss. 16,) and Michael Lequien, but denied by Du Bois, (Hist. Eccl. Paris, t. 1, p. 7,) and others; the testimony of St. Epiphanius, (Hær. 51,) upon which that assertion is built, being very ambiguous.

  The popular traditions of several churches in Gaul, which pretend they were founded by some of the apostles, or make their first bishops the immediate disciples of the apostles, are such that no stress can be laid on any of them, as Dionysius of Ste. Marthe, (Gallia Christian. Nova, t. 1, Præf. et p. 510,) Rivet, (Hist. Littér. t. 1, p. 304, &c.) and F. Longueval (Hist. de l’Eglise Gallic. t. 1, Diss. Prælim. Prop. 1 et 3,) confess. It cannot nevertheless be doubted but the faith had taken root in Gaul about the time of the apostles, seeing it was in a flourishing condition at Lyons in the second century, and had penetrated into Britain. and St. Irenæus urges against the heretics the tradition of the churches of Gaul. Germany, Egypt, and the East, all planted by the apostles. (l. 1, c. 10.) Tertullian says, that the faith flourished in the different nations of the Gauls, &c. (Tert. adv. Judæ, c. 7.) Dionysius of Ste. Marthe (Gallia Christian. Nova, t. 1,) demonstrates the same of that early period, though the churches there were not yet numerous, except about Arles, Marseilles, Lyons, and Vienne. Ado says St. Trophimus was made bishop of Arles by St. Paul. As St. Trophimus was bishop before the mission of St. Saturninus in 250, so it is not improbable that also some others of the five above-mentioned bishops came into Gaul before him, though the assertion of St. Gregory of Tours seems to show that several of them arrived together about that time. St. Gatian of Tours is expressly said to have been sent by St. Fabian, who sat from the year 236 to 250. That St. Dionysius of Paris, St. Saturninus, St. Austremonius, and St. Martialis were sent about the same time, and by the same pope, is what the testimony of St. Gregory of Tours confirms, and Tillemont and other judicious modern French historians look upon as certain. The peace which the church enjoyed under Philip was favourable to so numerous a mission. Some other missionaries were sent from Rome after these seven, as St. Peregrinus, first bishop of Auxerre, and St. Genulphus of Cahors, sent by St. Sixtus II. in 237, (ib. p. 108,) and probably several others, says Rivet. (Hist. Littér. t. 1, p. 309.) But the greatest part of the rest of the episcopal sees in Gaul were founded by the disciples of the first seven Roman missionaries. Thus Rivet doubts not but St. Julian of Mans and the first bishop of Angers were disciples of St. Gatian of Tours. 
[back]

Note 6. Gallia Christ. Nova, t. 1, p. 521. Rivet, t. 1, p. 308. [back]

Note 7. Montmartre or Mons Martyrum is a place anciently consecrated to the memory of these martyrs, who are said by some to have been there beheaded, and at first buried before their bodies were removed to the place where the abbey now stands; but it is the opinion of many judicious critics that the bodies of these martyrs were buried from the beginning upon the spot where the abbey was founded. (See Dom Felibien, Hist. de l’Abbaie de St. Denys, and Gallia Christ. Nova; Lebeuf, Diss. t. 2. p. 10.) Taillot, in his Recherches Critiques, Historiques, et Topographiques, an. 1772, 4to., on the first quarter, called The City, thinks this first chapel could not have stood where the abbey stands; for it cannot be imagined that St. Genevieve, a tender virgin, should so often frequent it by night had it been two leagues distant. He thinks this first chapel of St. Denis joined or was near the cathedral, according to the custom of those times. Whence the cathedral has always honoured him among its patrons. St. Genevieve persuaded the people to build a chapel under his invocation on the spot where the abbey was afterwards founded. This abbey being plundered by the Normans and destroyed, the citizens built a chapel under his name in the city, probably where the church of S. Denis de Chartre is situated. Some moderns pretend this to have been the place of his prison. But we are informed by St. Gregory of Tours, (l. 8, c. 33,) that the public prison of Paris was near the western gate; it was burnt down in 585, and transferred to the place near which this church stood: from which neighbourhood it was called S. Denis de Parisiaco Carcere, as was also the church of St. Symphorian’s in the same quarter, De Carcere. On this hill of Montmartre the idols of Mars and Mercury were worshipped before the conversion of the Gauls: whence it is called Mons Martis. [back]

Note 8. See Note on the life of St. Boniface, B. M. t. 6, p. 82. [back]

Note 9. The bull of Leo IX. produced at Ratisbon in favour of their pretended possession of the whole remains of St. Denis, of which Possinus disputes at large, is proved by Launoy and M. Valois to be counterfeit. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/10/091.html

San Dionigi e compagni Vescovo e martiri


- Memoria Facoltativa

Secondo la tradizione, fu il primo vescovo di Parigi, inviato in Gallia dal Papa Fabiano nel 250. Subì il martirio insieme a Rustico ed Eleuterio. Le sue reliquie sono custodite nella Basilica che Santa Genoveffa fece erigere nel 495. Accanto ad essa nel secolo VII sorse la celebre abbazia che da lui prese il nome. (Mess. Rom.)

Etimologia: Dionigi = consacrato a Dioniso (è il dio Bacco)

Emblema: Bastone pastorale, Palma

Martirologio Romano: Santi Dionigi, vescovo, e compagni, martiri: si tramanda che san Dionigi sia giunto in Francia inviato dal Romano Pontefice e, divenuto primo vescovo di Parigi, morì martire nelle vicinanze di questa città insieme al sacerdote Rustico e al diacono Eleuterio.

S. Dionigi è citato in vari importanti documenti tutti datati intorno al V-VI secolo; come la ‘Vita di s. Genoveffa’ ove si dice che la santa verso il 475 costruì a Parigi la chiesa di s. Dionigi; lo storico-poeta Venanzio Fortunato, morto verso il 600, anch’egli annota nei suoi scritti la chiesa di s. Dionigi e un’altra esistente a Bordeaux; s. Gregorio di Tours (m. 594) nella sua ‘Historia Francorum’ racconta di Dionigi e il suo martirio. 

Stranamente in questi antichi autori mancano notizie per i compagni di martirio e di apostolato di Dionigi vescovo, cioè Rustico prete ed Eleuterio diacono; i loro nomi compaiono per la prima volta nel secolo VI-VII nel ‘Martirologio Geronimiano’. 

La prima ‘passio’ latina si ha nell’VIII secolo e posiziona al I secolo la venuta in Gallia di Dionigi e compagni, ma una seconda e terza ‘passio’ del IX sec. hanno creato un alone di leggenda intorno alla sua figura. Fu identificato con Dionigi l’Areopagita, convertito da s. Paolo e questa versione andò avanti per parecchio tempo, riportata peraltro in tanti documenti e codici; ma poi altri autorevoli testi e studi successivi hanno definitivamente divise le due figure, che si celebrano distintamente il 3 ottobre per l’Areopagita e il 9 ottobre per Dionigi di Parigi. 

La versione più accreditata, lo indica come mandato da Roma insieme agli altri due compagni, ad evangelizzare nel III secolo, la Gallia, divenendo primo vescovo di Parigi che allora si chiamava Lutezia, organizzatore della prima comunità cristiana sulla Senna, e martire nel 270. 

Resta il mistero del silenzio per tre secoli sulle figure di Eleuterio e Rustico, alcuni studiosi affermano che è usanza nel nominare una chiesa, di dire solo il nome del titolare principale; altri fanno l’ipotesi che Dionigi porta il nome del dio Dionisius che fra gli altri epiteti ha anche Eleutherius cioè Libero e inoltre esso era un dio che simboleggiava la natura, sempre percorrendo campi e foreste, quindi un nume rustico, da qui Rusticus. 

Con la confusione che ha distinto la storia dei nomi dei santi più antichi, si può supporre che non di compagni si tratti, ma di aggettivi, questo spiegherebbe il silenzio così lungo. 

Dionigi a causa delle leggende che l’hanno confuso con l’altro Dionigi l’Areopagita, si è portato con sé, tradizioni, culto e raffigurazioni, provenienti da quel periodo. 

Così egli è raffigurato in tante chiese con statue, vetrate, bassorilievi, miniature, lezionari, pale d’altare, dipinti, in buona parte da solo, in vesti episcopali, spesso con la testa mozzata fra le mani; dopo l’VIII secolo è raffigurato anche insieme ad Eleuterio e Rustico. 

L’iconografia è ricchissima, testimonianza della diffusione del culto a Parigi ed in tutta la Francia e poi nelle Colonie, essa rappresenta con dovizie di particolari, il processo davanti al governatore Sisinnio, il supplizio della graticola con le fiamme, la santa Comunione ricevuta da Gesù Cristo mentre era in carcere, soprattutto il martirio mediante decapitazione o rottura del cranio, avvenuta a Montmartre e con Dionigi che cammina da lì al luogo della sepoltura, con la testa portata da se stesso con le mani.

Il nome Dionigi e la variante francese Denis e Denise, è di ampia diffusione, mentre Dionisio e Dionisia è molto raro.

Autore: Antonio Borrelli