Pope Dionysius was pope from July 22, 259 to December 26, 268. He may have been born in Greece, but this has not been verified. Dionysius was elected pope in 259 at the end of the period of persecution by Emperor Valerian I, who was captured and killed by the King of Persia in 260. To the new pope fell the task of reorganizing the Roman church, which had fallen into great disorder. On the protest of some of the faithful at Alexandria, he demanded from the bishop of Alexandria, also called Dionysius, explanations concerning his doctrine regarding the relation of God to the Logos, which was satisfied.
Pope Dionysius sent large sums of money to the churches of Cappadocia, which had been devastated by the marauding Goths, to rebuild and to ransom those held captive. He brought order to the Church and procured a peace after Emperor Gallienus issued an edict of toleration which was to last until 303. Dionysius is the first pope who is not listed as a martyr. He died on December 26, 268.
In two ordinations he created seven bishops, twelve priests, and six deacons. He was interred in the cemetery of Calixtus.
After his decease the Holy See was vacant four days.
In art, he is portrayed in papal vestments, along with a book.
Pope Dionysius (259 - 268), Fresco in Sixtine Chapel, Vatican
Pope of the Roman Catholic Church July 22, 259 to December 26, 268
Succeeded by: Saint Felix I
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