Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Dionysius, Pope and Confessor

detail of a bas-relief portrait medallioin of Pope Saint Dionysius, date and artist unknown; Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome, ItalyArticle

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. Saint Dionysius of Alexandria styles him an admirable man, and a person eminently learned. Saint Basil wonderfully extols his charity, which he extended to the most remote provinces of the empire. When the Goths had plundered C├Žsarea, 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. Our saint condemned Sabellius, etc., in a council at Rome, and afterwards confuted the blasphemies of Paul of Samosata. Saint Athanasius and Saint Basil made use of his elegant writings to prove the divinity of the Son, and the latter also that of the Holy Ghost. Saint 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. This holy pope died on the 26th of December, in 269.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Dionysius, Pope and Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 11 August 2018. Web. 29 November 2021. <>