Hieromartyr Dionysius, archbishop of Alexandria and eight martyrs with him (257-8)
Commemorated on October 3
He was a disciple of Origen and became a priest in Alexandria.
He became Bishop of Alexandria in 247, serving not only his own see but the
whole Church with fervor and compassion. He traveled to Rome to fight the
Novatian schisms that disturbed the Body of Christ at that time, and mediated in
the dispute between St Cyprian (September 16) and the Pope.
During the reign of Valerian, the new Governor of Alexandra, Emilianus, summoned St Dionysius, along with a group of his clergy, and demanded that they renounce Christ. When all stood firm in the Faith, he exiled them to the remote village of Kephro. But Christians flocked to the village to seek out the holy Bishop, and many pagans in the region were converted by him — so that soon the town was more nearly a Christian mission than a place of exile. When Emilianus learned of this, he exiled the Bishop and his disciples far into the wilderness, where they lived amidst terrible sufferings and hardships for more than twelve years. Saint Dionysius and his deacons Gaius and Faustus all died there; Eusebius the deacon and Maximus the priest eventually escaped. Eusebius became Bishop of Laodicea; Maximus, like his spiritual father, became Bishop of Alexandria.