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Dionysius of Corinth, St.


An outstanding writer among the non-Romans who corresponded with Pope soter c. 170. He was bishop of Corinth under Emperor Marcus Aurelius and was one of the most holy and zealous pastors of the Church in the second century. Eusebius gives us an account of the letters of Dionysius (Histoire ecclesiastique 4.23). Since none of the original letters are extant, the report of Eusebius is important.

In his letter to Soter, Dionysius thanked the bishop of Rome for his generosity in sending alms to the needy throughout the empire. This same letter mentions the letter of Pope St. clement to the Christians of Corinth. It is interesting to note in what esteem the letter of Clement was held. Dionysius' letter to the Lacedaemonians is an instruction in orthodoxy on the subject of peace and unity. Another letter to the Nicomedians combats the heresy of marcion. Dionysius wrote also to the Church while sojourning in Amastris, together with the churches in Pontus, adducing interpretations of the Scriptures and giving them many exhortations about marriage and chastity. In this same letter he also orders the faithful to receive those who are converted from any backsliding, whether of conduct or of heretical error.

From the account of Eusebius it appears that the letters of Dionysius must have been extant in one volume, which could have been completed while the writer was still living. It is also evident that his letters were held in high esteem by the different Christian communities, because he himself reported that the heretics tried to falsify them.

Feast: April 8 (Western Church); Nov. 29 (Eastern Church).

Bibliography: eusebius, Histoire ecclesiastique 4.23. j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster, MD 1950) 1:280282. i. tsavare, Concordantia in Dionysii Periegetae descriptionem orbis terrarum (Hildesheim 1992), in Greek with an Eng. preface. p. nautin, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912), 14:261262. b. altaner, Patrology, tr. h. graef (New York 1960) 148.

[d. p. kelleher]

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