Saint Denis Converts Paris to Christianity (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: In Christian tradition, Saint Denis was named bishop of Paris c. 250 c.e. and martyred at some point thereafter; Paris, then the rest of Gaul, were converted to Christianity.
Summary of Event
The earliest reference to Saint Dionysius, who is known in France as Saint Denis or Saint Denys, is found in the “Vita Genovefae” (sixth century c.e.; life of Saint Geneviève) written by an anonymous author. It mentions a place several miles north of Paris called Catulacum, “where Saint Dionysius was martyred and buried.” However, the story of Saint Denis and the conversion of Gaul to Christianity is described most fulsomely by bishop Gregory of Tours (539-594 c.e.), who composed Historia Francorum (late sixth century c.e.; History of the Franks, 1916), ten books dealing with Roman, Christian, and barbarian Gaul.
Gregory reports that “in the consulship of Decius and Gratus” (250 c.e.), seven bishops were sent to various cities in Gaul: Trophimus to Arles, Paul to Narbonne, Saturninus to Toulouse, Dionysius (Denis) to Paris, Stremonius to Clermont, and Martial to Limoges. Gregory, therefore, believed that Denis’s mission to Paris (which in the third century was a city of but middling importance) was part of a more broadly conceived plan to convert Gaul to Christianity. Even though Gregory does not specifically say so, it has been assumed that the seven were sent by the...
(The entire section is 974 words.)
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