Saint Dionysius the Areopagite
First Bishop of Athens and of Paris
and his Companions, Martyrs
Of all the Roman missionaries sent into Gaul, Saint Dionysius or Denys the Areopagite, converted by Saint Paul in Athens, carried the Faith farthest into the west, fixing his see at Paris. France claims him as one of her greatest glories.
He was a highly educated philosopher of Greece, and one of the nine archontes or leaders of the city of Athens, a counselor, as some say, if not the Head of the Athenian senate. He was born in the year 9 of the Christian era, and had traveled to Heliopolis in Egypt to learn mathematics and astrology. There he saw for himself, in his early twenties, the eclipse of the sun contrary to all the laws of nature, which occurred at the death of the Son of God. His teachers could not explain it to him otherwise than as a sign of changes in divine matters. In his letters to Saint Polycarp he says himself that the astrologer he questioned had answered him rather by divine inspiration than by any natural knowledge. And he himself had cried out: Either the God of nature is suffering, or the entire mechanism of the world is going to be destroyed to return to its ancient state of chaos! Already he was being prepared for his conversion twenty years later, which is related by Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter seven. Continue reading