Book of Saints – Dionysius, Rusticus and Eleutherius

detail of a stained glass window of Saint Denis of Paris; date and artist unknown; cemetery chaple of the Croix-Bouessée, Piré-sur-Seiche, Ille-et-Villaine, France; photographed on 13 December 2013 by François GOGLINS; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(Saints) Martyrs (October 9) (1st or 3rd century) It has been the fashion in modern times to date the martyrdom of Saint Denis, first Bishop of Paris, of Saint Eleutherius, his priest or deacon, and of Saint Rusticus, a cleric, his companions, as having come to pass in the course of the third century in the persecution of the Emperor Decius. This view is based on the authority of the sixth century historian, Saint Gregory of Tours. For the arguments in its favour, Smith and Wace (besides the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum) may be consulted. The traditional belief that Saint Denis was sent into Gaul to evangelise the country by Pope Saint Clement I in the first century, and suffered martyrdom under Domitian or Trajan, especially if one takes into account the frequent inaccuracies of Saint Gregory of Tours, seems nevertheless to be fairly well authenticated. Of the arguments supporting it, Archbishop Darboy’s work and Darras’s History of the Church, have excellent summaries. As to the facts of the martyrdom of the Saint and his fellow-sufferers, we know little or nothing save that they were put to the torture and decapitated near Paris, after having converted many pagans to belief in Christ, and that their bodies cast into the Seine were recovered by their disciples and buried on the spot where, several centuries later, the Merovingian King Dagobert, at the prayer of Saint Genevieve, built the famous Abbey of Saint Denis.

MLA Citation

  • Monks of Ramsgate. “Dionysius, Rusticus and Eleutherius”. Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 30 October 2012. Web. 23 January 2022. <>