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Encyclopedia > Denis
Saint Denis of Paris

Saint Denis, from Notre Dame, holding his head.
Martyr, first Bishop of Paris, Holy Helper
Born Third century, Italy
Died ca. 250, 258,[1] or 270, Montmartre, Paris, France
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Major shrine Abbey of Saint-Denis, Saint Denis Basilica
Feast 9 October
Attributes carrying his severed head in his hands; a bishop's mitre; city; furnace[2]
Patronage France; Paris; against frenzy; against strife; headaches; hydrophobia; possessed people; rabies
Saints Portal

Saint Denis of Paris (also called Dionysius, Dennis, or Denys) is a Christian martyr and saint. In the third century, he was bishop of Paris. He was martyred in approximately 250, and is venerated especially in the Roman Catholic Church as patron of Paris, France and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The modern name "Denis" derives from the ancient name Dionysius, "servant of Dionysus". Notre Dame de Paris: Western Façade For other uses, see Notre Dame. ... Fourteen Holy Helpers The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because prayer to them was thought to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. ... (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ... Events Diophantus writes Arithmetica the first systematic treatise on algebra. ... Events Sun Xiu succeeds Sun Liang as ruler of the Chinese kingdom of Wu The Goths ravage Asia Minor and Trabzon Gaul, Britain and Spain break off from the Roman Empire to form the Gallic Empire Nanjing University first founded in Nanjing, China Births Emperor Hui of Jin China (approximate... Events Quintillus briefly holds power over the Roman Empire, and is succeeded by Aurelian Vandals and Sarmatians driven out of Roman territory Romans leave Utrecht after regular invasions of Germanic people. ... Montmartre seen from the centre Georges Pompidou (1897), a painting by Camille Pissarro of the boulevard that led to Montmartre as seen from his hotel room. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... Shrine is also used as a conventional translation of the Japanese Jinja. ... The Basilica of Saint Denis (in French, la Basilique de Saint-Denis), a famous burial site for French monarchs, is located in Saint Denis (near Paris). ... West façade of Saint Denis Depiction of the Trinity over the main entrance The Basilica of Saint Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis, or simply Basilique Saint-Denis) is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England. ... The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organising a liturgical year on the level of days by associating each day with one or more saints, and referring to the day as that saints day. ... is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Saint symbology was important to people who couldnt read because they can figure out what symbols mean. ... Decapitation (from Latin, caput, capitis, meaning head), or beheading, is the removal of a living organisms head. ... This article is about the ceremonial head-dress; see also mitre (disambiguation). ... Saint Quentin is the patron saint of locksmiths and is also invoked against coughs and sneezes. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... For other uses, see Frenzy (disambiguation). ... Strife, published in 1996, is a computer game developed by Rogue Entertainment and published by Velocity, based on the Doom engine from id Software. ... A headache (cephalgia in medical terminology) is a condition of pain in the head; sometimes neck or upper back pain may also be interpreted as a headache. ... Look up Hydrophobia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Possession in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File links Gloriole. ... Denis was the first Bishop of Paris. ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Martyr (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Saint (disambiguation). ... The archbishop of Paris is one of twenty-three archbishops in France. ... Events Diophantus writes Arithmetica the first systematic treatise on algebra. ... Catholic Church redirects here. ... The Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris throughout the world. ... Fourteen Holy Helpers The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because prayer to them was thought to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. ... This article is about the ancient deity. ...

Contents

Life

Mural of the martyrdom of St. Denis at the Pantheon in Paris.
Mural of the martyrdom of St. Denis at the Pantheon in Paris.

Gregory of Tours[3] states that Denis was bishop of the Parisii and was martyred by being beheaded by a sword. The earliest document giving an account of his life and martyrdom, the Passio SS. Dionysii Rustici et Eleutherii dates from c. 600, is mistakenly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, and is legendary. Nevertheless, it appears from the Passio that Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul in the third century, forging a link with the "apostles to the Gauls" reputed to have been sent out under the direction of Pope Fabian. This was after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian community at Lutetia.[4] Denis, with his inseparable companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, who were martyred with him, settled on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine. Roman Paris lay on the higher ground of the Left Bank, away from the river. The Panthéon Interior Dome of the Panthéon Entrance of the Panthéon Voltaires statue and tomb in the crypt of the Panthéon The Panthéon (Latin Pantheon[1], from Greek Pantheon, meaning All the Gods) is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Saint Gregory of Tours (c. ... Gold coins of the Parisii, 1st century BC, (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris) Coin of the Parisii: obverse with horse, 1st century BC (Cabinet des Médailles, Paris) This article is about Celtic-Gallic people called the Parisii. ... Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Look up Sword in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The population of the Earth rises to about 208 million people. ... Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c. ... Gaul (Latin: ) was the name given, in ancient times, to the region of Western Europe comprising present-day northern Italy, France, Belgium, western Switzerland and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine river. ... (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ... Saint Fabian (died 250; feast day: January 20), pope and martyr, was chosen pope, or bishop of Rome, in January 236 in succession to Pope Anterus. ... Bust of Traianus Decius. ... Lutetia (sometimes Lutetia Parisiorum or Lucotecia, in French Lutèce) was a town in pre-Roman and Roman Gaul. ... Notre Dame de Paris on ÃŽle de la Cité from upstream (the east) The ÃŽle de la Cité, one of two islands in the Seine (the other being ÃŽle Saint-Louis), in the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded. ... This article is about the river in France; it should not be confused with the Senne, a much smaller river that flows through Brussels. ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... The left bank of a river is the bank on the left when looking in the direction of flow towards the sea. ...


Martyrdom

Denis, having irritated the tempers of heathen priests for his many conversions, was executed by beheading on the highest hill near Paris (now Montmartre), which was likely to have been a druidic holy place. The martyrdom of Denis and his companions gave it its current name, which in Old French means "mountain of martyrs".[1] According to the Golden Legend, after his head was chopped off, Denis picked it up and walked two miles, preaching a sermon the entire way.[5] The site where he stopped preaching and actually died was made into a small shrine that developed into the Saint Denis Basilica, which became the burial place for the kings of France. Another account has his corpse being thrown in the Seine, but recovered and buried later that night by his converts.[2] Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religious identity, or a change from one religious identity to another. ... Beheading. ... Montmartre seen from the centre Georges Pompidou (1897), a painting by Camille Pissarro of the boulevard that led to Montmartre as seen from his hotel room. ... For other uses, see Druid (disambiguation). ... French (français, langue française) is one of the most important Romance languages, outnumbered in speakers only by Spanish and Portuguese. ... For the Arthur Sullivan oratorio, see The Golden Legend (oratorio). ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      A sermon is an oration by... West façade of Saint Denis Depiction of the Trinity over the main entrance The Basilica of Saint Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis, or simply Basilique Saint-Denis) is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England. ... It has been suggested that Regents: France and French States be merged into this article or section. ... This article is about the river in France. ...

Late Gothic statue of Saint Denis, limestone, formerly polychromed (Musée de Cluny)
Late Gothic statue of Saint Denis, limestone, formerly polychromed (Musée de Cluny)

The Musée de Cluny as viewed from the nearby park The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry Thermes de Cluny: caldarium The Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge, is a museum in Paris, France. ...

Veneration

Veneration of Saint Denis began soon after his death. The bodies of Saints Denis, Eleutherius, and Rusticus were buried on the spot of their martyrdom, where the construction of the saint's eponymous basilica was begun by Saint Geneviève, assisted by the people of Paris.[6] Her Vita Sanctae Genovefae attests the presence of a shrine near the present basilica by the close of the fifth century, though the names of Rusticus and Eleutherius are non-historical. The successor church was erected by Fulrad, who became abbot in 749/50 and was closely linked with the accession of the Carolingians to the Merovingian throne. West façade of Saint Denis Depiction of the Trinity over the main entrance The Basilica of Saint Denis (French: Basilique de Saint-Denis, or simply Basilique Saint-Denis) is the famous burial site of the French monarchs, comparable to Westminster Abbey in England. ... In Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Saint Geneviève (Nanterre near Paris, ca 419/422 - Paris 512) is the patron of Paris. ... This article is about the capital of France. ... Saint Fulrad ( Fulrade) (710—July 16, 784) was abbot of St. ...


In time, the "Saint Denis" became the war-cry of the French armies. The oriflamme, which became the standard of France, was the banner consecrated upon his tomb. His veneration spread beyond France when, in 754, Pope Stephen II, who was French, brought veneration of Saint Denis to Rome. Soon his cultus was prevalent throughout Europe.[6] Abbot Suger removed the relics of Denis, and those associated with Rustique and Eleuthére, from the crypt to reside under the high altar of the Saint-Denis he rebuilt, 1140-44.[7] A slogan is a memorable phrase used in political or commercial context as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose. ... The Oriflamme was the sacred banner of the Abbey of St. ... For other uses, see Flag (disambiguation). ... Events Pope Stephen III crowns Pepin the short King of the Franks at St. ... Stephen, elected pope in March of 752 to succeed Pope Zacharias, died of apoplexy three days later, before being consecrated. ... For other uses, see Rome (disambiguation). ... In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings (scriptures), its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Suger of Saint-Denis on a medieval window Suger (c. ...


The feast of Saint Denis was added to the Roman Calendar in 1568 by Pope Pius V, though it had been celebrated since at least 800. Denis' feast day is October 9.[2] The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organising a liturgical year on the level of days by associating each day with one or more saints, and referring to the day as that saints day. ... Events March 23 - Peace of Longjumeau ends the Second War of Religion in France. ... Pope St. ... Events December 25, Rome, coronation of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) as emperor by Pope Leo III. Celtic monks begin work on the Book of Kells on the Island of Iona. ... is the 282nd day of the year (283rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In traditional Catholic practice, Saint Denis is honored as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Specifically, Denis is invoked against diabolical possession and headaches.[8] Fourteen Holy Helpers The Fourteen Holy Helpers are a group of saints venerated together in Roman Catholicism because prayer to them was thought to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases. ... Demonic possession, in supernatural belief systems, is a form of spiritual possession whereby certain malevolent extra-dimensional entities, demons, gain control over a mortal persons body, which is then used for an evil or destructive purpose. ... A headache (cephalgia in medical terminology) is a condition of pain in the head; sometimes neck or upper back pain may also be interpreted as a headache. ...


Companions

Last Communion and Martyrdom of Saint Denis, by Henri Bellechose, 1416, which shows the martyrdom of both Denis and his companions
Last Communion and Martyrdom of Saint Denis, by Henri Bellechose, 1416, which shows the martyrdom of both Denis and his companions

October 9 has been traditionally celebrated as the feast of Saint Denis and also of his companions, a priest named Rusticus and a deacon, Eleutherius, who were martyred alongside him and buried with him. Henri Bellechose (fl. ... May 30 - The Catholic Church burns Jerome of Prague as a heretic. ... This article is about religious workers. ... For other uses, see Deacon (disambiguation). ...


Confusion with Dionysus the Areopagite

Since at least the ninth century, the legends of Dionysus the Areopagite and Denis of Paris have been often confused. Circa 814, Louis the Pious brought certain writings attributed to Dionysus the Areopagite to France, and since then it became common among the French legendary writers to prove that Denis of Paris was the same Dionysus who was a famous convert and disciple of Saint Paul.[6] The confusion of the personalities of Saint Denis, Dionysus the Areopagite, and pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, the author of the writings ascribed to Dionysius brought to France by Louis, was initiated through an Areopagitica written in 836 by Hilduin, Abbot of Saint-Denis, at the request of Louis the Pious. "Hilduin was anxious to to promote the dignity of his church, and it is to him that that the quite unfounded identification of the patron saint with Dionysius the Areopagite and his consequent connexion with the apostolic age are due."[9] Scholars might still argue for an Eastern origin of the Basilica of Saint-Denis in the sixteenth century: one was Godefroi Tillman's long preface to a paraphrase of the Letters of the Areopagite, printed in Paris in 1538 by Charlotte Guillard.[10] Historiographers of the present day[11] do not dispute this point.[4] Dionysius the Areopagite was the judge of the Areopagus who, as related in Acts of the Apostles, (Acts 17:34), was converted to Christianity by the preaching of Paul. ... Events Louis the Pious succeeds Charlemagne as king of the Franks and Emperor. ... Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid. ... Paul of Tarsus (b. ... Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, also known as pseudo-Denys, refers to the anonymous theologian and philosopher of the 5th century whose Corpus Areopagiticum was falsely ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite of Acts 17:34. ... Events Abbasid caliph al-Mutasim establishes new capital at Samarra, Iraq. ... Hilduin (775-840) was Bishop of Paris, chaplain to Louis I, reforming Abbot of the Abbey of St. ... Louis the Pious, contemporary depiction from 826 as a miles Christi (soldier of Christ), with a poem of Rabanus Maurus overlaid. ...


Depiction in art

Denis' headless walk has led to his being depicted in art decapitated and dressed as a bishop, holding his own mitred head in his hands.[6] Handling the halo in this circumstance offers a unique challenge for the artist. Some put the halo where the head used to be; others have Saint Denis carrying the halo along with the head. Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      This article... This article is about the ceremonial head-dress; see also mitre (disambiguation). ... Saint Denis of Paris A cephalophore (from the Greek for head-carrier) is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his head in his hands; in art, this was usually meant to signify that the subject in question had been martyred by beheading. ... Jesus is usually depicted with a round halo bearing a cross, as in this dome mosaic from the Church of Daphni in Athens. ...


Notes

  1. ^ a b St. Denis and Companions. "Saint of the Day". Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  2. ^ a b c Jones, Terry. Denis. Patron Saints Index. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  3. ^ "Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit." History of the Franks I, 30.
  4. ^ a b "St. Denis". The Catholic Encyclopedia 4. (1908). Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved on 2007-01-16. 
  5. ^ This is the iconographic detail by which he may be identified, whether in the thirteenth-century sculpture at the Musée de Cluny (illustration, left) or in the nineteenth-century figure in the portal of Nôtre Dame de Paris, part of Viollet-le-Duc's restorations (illustration, right).
  6. ^ a b c d Vadnal, Jane (June 1998). Images of Medieval Art and Architecture: Saint Denis. Excerpt from "Sacred and Legendary Art" by Anna Jameson, 1911. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  7. ^ Suger, De rebus in administratione sua gestis, xxxi, and De Consecratione, v.
  8. ^ Miller, Jennifer. Fourteen Holy Helpers. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  9. ^ A. Hamilton Thompson, reviewing Sumner McKnight Crosby, The Abbey of Saint-Denis, 475-1122. Vol. I, in The English Historical Review 58 No. 231 (July 1943:357-359) p 358.
  10. ^ Georgii Pachymerae... Paraphrasis in decem Epistolas B. Dionysii Arepagitae; see Beatrice Beech, "Charlotte Guillard: A Sixteenth-Century Business Woman", Renaissance Quarterly 36.3 (Autumn 1983:345-367) p. 349.
  11. ^ Note that the source for this statement is not contemporary, but is derived from the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Musée de Cluny as viewed from the nearby park The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry Thermes de Cluny: caldarium The Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge, is a museum in Paris, France. ... Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (Paris, January 27, 1814 - Lausanne 1879) was a French architect, famous for his restorations of medieval buildings. ... 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...

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