Dionysius of Rome

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Our father among the saints Dionysius of Rome was the Bishop of Rome from 259 to 268. He was the first Bishop of Rome who is not listed as a martyr. His feast day is December 26.


Little is known of his life. He may have been of Greek heritage born in Magna Graecia, that is in one of the Greek colonies of the southern part of Italy. He was well educated and was a priest in Rome during the episcopate Bishop Stephen of 254 to 257. He was elected to the see of Rome on July 22, 259, after the end of the persecutions of emperor Valerian I. The see had been vacant for nearly a year after the martyrdom of Bp. Sistus II on August 6, 258.

The new emperor, Gallienus, issued an edict of toleration and gave the Church legal status that lasted until 303, thus provided the Church a period in which it could reorganize.

Bp. Dionysius rebuilt and restored many of the churches in Rome that had been damaged or destroyed during the persecutions. In 260, he defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity against the heresy of Sabellianism, as well as condemning the heretical teaching of Paul of Samosata.

Bp. Dionysius reposed in Rome on December 26, 268, and was buried in the crypt in the catacomb of Callistus.

Succession box:
Dionysius of Rome
Preceded by:
Sistus II
Bishop of Rome
Succeeded by:
Felix I
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