St. Dionysius, Pope and Confessor
DIONYSIUS was a priest of the church of Rome, under the pontificates of Stephen and Sixtus II. The latter having received the crown of martyrdom under Valerian, on the 6th of August, 258, through the violence of the persecution, the holy see continued vacant almost a year, till our saint was chosen pope on the 2d of July, 259. St. Dionysius of Alexandria styles him an admirable man, and a person eminently learned. St. Basil wonderfully extols his charity, which he extended to the most remote provinces of the empire. When the Goths had plundered Cæsarea, the capital of Cappadocia, and carried away most of its inhabitants into captivity, the good pope wrote to that city a letter of comfort, and sent messengers with large sums of money to ransom the captives. 1 Our saint condemned Sabellius, &c., in a council at Rome, and afterwards confuted the blasphemies of Paul of Samosata. 2 St. Athanasius and St. Basil made use of his elegant writings to prove the divinity of the Son, and the latter also that of the Holy Ghost. 3 St. Athanasius testifies, that the three hundred fathers at Nice, in defending the Catholic faith used no new expressions, but those which they received from the foregoing pastors of God’s church, copying particularly those of Dionysius of Rome, and his namesake of Alexandria. 4 This holy pope died on the 26th of December, in 269. See Eus. l. 7, c. 5, 7; S. Athan. Ceillier, t. 3, p. 327.
The Lives of the Saints. Volume XII: December.
1866. Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).