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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 55-56.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 259-269.

DIONYSIUS whose original Damasus could not trace, being of a monk advanced to the pontifical dignity, forthwith allotted to the several presbyters in the city of Rome their several churches and cemeteries, and to others elsewhere distributed their respective parishes and dioceses, that so every one might be confined within his own bounds and limits.

His contemporary emperor I take to have been Claudius,1 who, when by consent of the senate he had undertaken the government, made war upon, and with incredible slaughter defeated the Goths, who had for fifteen years together wasted Illyricum and Macedonia. Hereupon it was decreed by the senate, that in the council-house a golden shield, in the Capital a golden statue, should be erected to his honour. But falling sick at Sirmium, he died before the second year of his empire was completed. Upon his death, Quintillus, his brother, was straightway chosen emperor by the army — a person of singular moderation, and the only man who deserved to succeed his brother; but he also governed a very little time, being slain in the seventeenth day of his reign.

During the pontificate of Dionysius, Paulus of Samosata, deserting the orthodox faith, revived the heresy of Artemon. This Paul, being made bishop of Antioch in the room of Demetrianus, behaved himself with excessive haughtiness and affectation; for as he passed along he affected to read and dictate letters, a great throng of attendants going before and following him; so that for the sake of his arrogance, multitudes were very strongly prejudiced against the Christian religion. But had they lived in our times, wherein pride and pomp, not to say luxury itself, are at their height, what would they think to see prelates led on by so many young sparks, and brought up by a crowd of presbyters, all mounted upon high-fed and gay-trapped horses? Certain I am they would abhor and execrate them, and say, that they were false and hypocritical pretenders to the religion of the blessed Jesus. But I return to Paul, whom I may more securely reprove. 56 He was highly self-opinionated and ambitious, and denied our Saviour’s eternal generation, or that he had a being till his conception of the blessed Virgin. For this reason, at the council of Antioch, he was publicly condemned by the consent of all the bishops that were present; but especially by the sentence of Gregory, Bishop of Cesarea, a most holy man who was present at the council, and afterwards suffered martyrdom for the faith of Christ. Malchion, also a presbyter of Antioch, disputed and wrote much against this Paul, for the reason that I have already mentioned. Dionysius himself could not be at this council because of his great age, but of all the transactions there he had full intelligence given him by Maximus, Bishop of Alexandria. Dionysius dying, was buried in the cemetery of Calistus; after that at two Decembrian ordinations he had made twelve presbyters, six deacons, seven bishops. He sat in the chair, ten years, two months, four days; and the see was vacant six days.


 1  It was Gallienus. Claudius did not stain the purple until the last year of Dionysius. — ED.

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Previous Pope:  25. St. Sixtus II. 26. St. Dionysius. Next Pope: 27. St. Felix I.

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