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Saint of the Day for 09 October: St Dionysius and companions

St Dionysius and companions: the story of the first Christian martyrs


St Dionysius and companions


Bishop and martyrs


09 October


2004 edition


Grant, O almighty God, the crown of glory to thy elect, who strive in combat, and bestow upon them, as spoils, the reward of the heavenly kingdom. In their midst thy athlete Dionysius with Eleutherius and Rusticus, dying for thee, attained the palm of martyrdom. Grant us, O Redeemer of the world, that their help may obtain us forgiveness, for our merits can be worth nothing.

Saint Patron of

Borgo Velino, Longhena, Saint-Denis

Roman Martyrology

Saints Dionysius, bishop, and companions, martyrs: Saint Dionysius is said to have arrived in France sent by the Roman Pontiff and, having become the first bishop of Paris, died a martyr’s death in the vicinity of this city together with the priest Rusticus and the deacon Eleutherius.


The Saint and Mission

St Dionysius and his fellow martyrs offer an extraordinary vision of the Christian mission that is realised not only through word and deed, but also and above all through the total gift of self. Dionysius, bishop of Paris, together with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, embodies a missionary dimension tinged with the colours of martyrdom, showing how the witness of the Gospel can permeate one’s being to the point of supreme sacrifice.

The mission of St Dionysius and his companions is not limited to bringing a verbal message, but is rooted in an existence entirely shaped by the Gospel. In this, their missionary call acquires an extraordinary depth, because it goes beyond the surface of words and deeds, descending into the very heart of the paschal mystery. Their mission thus becomes a reflection of Christ’s death and resurrection in the very fabric of their life and death.

Despite persecution, suffering and violent death, they do not give up the missionary task that the Lord has placed in their path. Their fidelity to Christ is not broken even in the face of torment, and in this, their life becomes a powerful proclamation of the Risen One, capable of overcoming the barriers of fear and death. Martyrdom, understood not as an end, but as an authentic testimony of faith, becomes a universal language that tells of God’s invincible love for humanity.

The witness of St Dionysius and his companions in the mission takes on the face of a love that does not back down, that spares nothing of itself. A mission that knows how to speak to the heart, precisely because it springs from the very heart of the Christian experience: the encounter with a God who is love to the point of self-giving, to the point of the sacrifice of the cross. Their story challenges us and invites us to rediscover the authentic heart of the Christian mission, which is always imbued with the love that is not afraid to give itself, to spend itself, to lose its life for the Gospel.

In a society that often pursues success, power and personal comfort, the figure of missionary martyrs like St Dionysius and his companions stands as a shining beacon pointing to another way of living and proclaiming the Gospel. Their mission goes beyond words and deeds and becomes a being in Christ who, from the cross, radiates the light of the resurrection. In this, they show us that the mission is not so much a doing as a being: being in Christ, with Christ, for Christ, and, through this vital union, becoming an eloquent sign of his saving love for the world.

The Saint and Mercy

St Dionysius, Rusticus and Eleutherius, transcending temporal boundaries, tell us a story in which divine mercy is a constant, luminous, and powerful presence.Their paths, marked by unconditional faith and courage, not only outline a path of steadfast devotion, but also illuminate the path of those who are called to see in martyrdom an extraordinary manifestation of divine mercy.

St Dionysius, together with his companions, through the supreme test of martyrdom, became an instrument through which God’s mercy is supremely manifested. In their acceptance of suffering and death for the sake of the Gospel, a horizon is opened up where God’s merciful love is not only received, but also poured out on others with surprising magnitude.

Mercy, in the context of the journey of these holy martyrs, becomes a chalice from which they drink deeply, embracing with serenity the supreme sacrifice in the name of Truth.But it is also a chalice that they offer to the world with their witness: an invitation to drink from the spring of love that does not run out even in the face of the abyss of pain and death.

The martyrdom of St Dionysius and companions, in this way, becomes a living page of the Gospel, narrating not only their faith, but also the depth of divine mercy, which becomes close to man even in the darkness of pain and abandonment. Their story speaks to us of a God who does not abandon, who becomes a companion even in the most arduous and painful passages of human existence.

Moreover, their witness of faith in the midst of persecution reveals to us how divine mercy is an embrace that welcomes all anguish, fear and pain, transforming them into a shining testimony of hope and victory over death and evil. In their faithfulness to God even in persecution, they show us a face of God who is always near, who weeps with us, who suffers with us, and who invites us to see even in the night of pain the promise of the dawn of resurrection.

The mercy that Dionysius and his companions embody, therefore, is not an abstract or distant sentiment, but a burning fire that burns in the midst of life’s storms, that warms the heart even in the coldest and darkest nights, inviting us to see, beyond the veil of tears and blood, the eternal promise of God’s love that conquers all death and all fear. It then becomes the anchor to cling to when the sea of life becomes stormy, the polar star that guides us when night tries to swallow up the hope in the human heart.

Ultimately, meditating on the figure of St Dionysius and his companions, we are invited to rediscover mercy not as a word, but as a journey, a journey in which every step is marked by the loving presence of God who never leaves us alone, even when the sky seems to darken. And so, mercy becomes a mission: to bring to the world, through our lives, the face of a God who loves with a love that knows no boundaries or conditions.


S. Dionysius, Bishop of Paris, was one of those apostolic men who brought the light of faith to Gaul with their preaching. He preached the Gospel from the beginning in several places and cities of that kingdom. He took in his company and for his coadjutors in the ministry of the word a holy priest by the name of Rusticus and St Eleutherius deacon. With them he advanced as far as the city of Paris, ‘and there he established his…


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