DENIS, SAINT, according to tradition, the apostle of France and first. bishop of Paris, suffered martyrdom in the 3d century. He was sent (as is said) from Rome about 250 A.D. to preach the gospel to the Gauls. After various detentions at Arles and other places, lie arrived in Paris, where he made numerous proselytes. Pescennius or Sicin nius Lescennius, who was then the Roman governor of this part of Gaul, ordered D. to be brought before him, along with other two Christians, Rusticus, a priest, and lieu tlieros, a deacon. As they continued firm in their faith, in spite of threats, Pescennius caused them to be cruelly tortured, and afterwards beheaded, 272 A.n., or, as others say, 200 A.D. Gregory of Tours, Fortunatus, and the Latin martyrologists, state that the bodies of time three martyrs were thrown into the Seine, but taken up by a pious woman named Catulla, and interred where they lost their lives. At a later period, a
chapel was built over their tomb. In 630, king Dagobert founded on the spot an abbey, called St. Denis, which soon grew to be one of the richest and most important in the whole kingdom, and was long the sepulcher of the French kings. What measure of truth there may be in the above biography, it is impossible to say. The Acts of St. D.. written about the end of the 7th or beginning of the 8th c., is founded merely upon vulgar traditions, and is full of absurdities. The Greek church makes St. Denis to be the same person as Dionysius, the Areopagite, first bishop of Athens. The Roman' Catholic church celebrates his memory on the 9th of October. For a long time his name was the war-cry of the French soldiers, who charged or rallied to the words Aiontjoye St. Denis.