Saint Dionysios the Areopagite
Date of celebration: 03/10
Saint Dionysios came from the city of Athens. He lived and was martyred during the years when Dometian was emperor. He was distinguished for his philosophical training and deep cultivation.
Initially he was a pagan and a member of the Parliament of the Supreme Court. But the preaching of the Apostle Paul touched his educated and sensitive soul and he was baptized. Later he succeeded the pious Ierotheos on the episcopal throne of Athens. He was rewarded by God for his Christian activity with the gift of performing miracles.
He toured many parts of the West, where he preached the gospel and interpreted the holy scriptures. When he arrived in Paris he was arrested and later beheaded. Two of his disciples, Rusticos and Eleftherios, also martyred with him. The ruler of the region gave an order that no one should bury the holy remains of the martyrs, but some Christians kept them and when there was no more fear they buried them with honors.
According to the opinion of Michael I. Galanou, “in the Synaxaria, however, and in this Minaion in the celebration of the third of October, there is an overturning of the historical… truth” (Michael Galanou I., The Lives of the Saints, October, Athens 1951, p. 22). According to the above writer, the view that Saint Dionysius the Areopagite was martyred in Paris is incorrect.
Saint Dionysios was the author of many theological writings, from which we quote in translation some of his words, regarding the Holiness, Kingship and Lordship of God: “Holiness, then, in our opinion, is purity untainted by any miasma, the complete and totally immaculate. Rule is the arrangement of every boundary, every order, regulation, situation. Dominion is not only the supremacy over the worst, but also the totality of the good and goods and the complete completeness, as well as the true and unchangeable certainty. That is why ownership is etymologically derived from “prestige” and “master” and “dominated”. Divinity is the providence that sees everything and with perfect goodness “pervades” (contains) and sustains everything, fills them with itself and excels all that enjoy the gifts of its providence” (Dionysios Areopagitou, “On Divine Names” P. Pournaro Publications).
We do not have more and more specific historical information about the life of Agios Dionysios apart from the few that we mentioned above. The rest mentioned by some Synaxarists belong to the context of tradition only.
After No. 22/30 September 1999 AD encyclical of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens, the memory of Saint Dionysios the Areopagite was included to be additionally commemorated on October 12, where it was decided to commemorate the Synaxis of the Saints in Athens.