Saint Denis (Dionysius), who came from Italy to 250 or 270 AD with six companions to evangelize France, was the first bishop of Paris (Lutèce), the apostle of Gaul. It would be the uncle of St. Pancrace (or Pancrace of Rome).
Saint Denis founded several churches in France, and was martyred with Rustic Éleuthère, his companions, to 272 during the persecution of Valerian. That, say some, Montmartre (Martyrum mons) or the Ile de la Cité, with the other, they were put to death.
Saint Denis is celebrated on October 9.
The Patron of Paris and the Seine-Saint-Denis was the first bishop of the capital of France. He died a martyr to 272 and is buried where stands the basilica of St. Denis. That’s all we know of him before the ninth century.
According to the Lives of Saint Denis, written in the Carolingian period, he was beheaded, accoridng to legend after he was beheaded he picked up his head and Denis walked to the north for six miles, his head under his arm preaching while he walked. He crossed the road that would later be named Rue des Martyrs. At the end of his journey, he gave his head to a pious woman from the Roman nobility named Catullus, then collapsed. It is buried in the place he colapsed and a basilica was built in his honor on the spot. The city now called Saint-Denis.
The tradition has gradually increased the reputation of Denis who was then confused with Dionysius the Areopagite (Bishop of Athens) and Denis the Mystique. This tradition dates back to the Abbot Suger in the twelfth century, who have produced false, for political reasons, has accroire that Saint Denis was unable to attend the sermons of St. Paul.
The story also speaks of his two companions Eleutherius, the priest, and rustic, the deacon, and the Port of head of the saint after his decapitation from Montmartre to St Denis.
The facts are as follows: The name of St. Denis appears to 520 in “Life of Saint Genevieve” which reflects the devotion of the holy martyr to the bishop, his father in faith. She was of the clergy in Paris the erection of a church on his grave to “vicus Catulliacus” located eight kilometers north of the Seine, the current basilica Saint Denys Street Catullienne. It went well and often in a church in the city which he was the holder.
Half a century later, the martyrology hieronymien mentioned the testimony of St. Denis and his companions on October 9 and Saint Venance Fortunat certifies the dissemination of his cult to Bordeaux.
In the same years, the historian Gregory of Tours says that around 250, Pope of Rome had sent Denis in Gaul with six other bishops to bring the Gospel. It settled at Lutèce where he was soon to be put to death. It is believed that it was martyred in the persecution of Decius (250) and Diocletian (258). Near the basilica which was based on the first bishop of Paris, an abbey was founded in the seventh century and it became a prestigious royal largesse through since Dagobert. It contributed to the influence of its patron saint, providing a wonderful legend.
A. Hamilton Thompson, reviewing Sumner McKnight Crosby, The Abbey of Saint-Denis, 475-1122. Vol. I, in The English Historical Review58 No. 231 (July 1943:357-359)
“Beatus Dionysius Parisiorum episcopus diversis pro Christi nomine adfectus poenis praesentem vitam gladio immente finivit.” “History of the Franks I,” 30.
Georgii Pachymerae… Paraphrasis in decem Epistolas B. Dionysii Arepagitae”; see Beatrice Beech, “Charlotte Guillard: A Sixteenth-Century Business Woman,” Renaissance Quarterly No. 36, 3 (Autumn 1983:345-367) p. 349.