St Denys

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Bishop of Paris, patron of France. St Denys lived in the 2nd century. According to St Gregory of Tours, who wrote his life history, St Denys was born in Italy and sent to convert the Gauls with five other missionaries. They reached the Roman city of Paris, preached with great success and set up a Christian centre on an island in the river Seine.

In around 250AD, the governor Fescenninus Sisinnus had St Denys arrested with two companions. They were imprisoned for some time and then beheaded. Monmartre - the 'Martyr's Hill' was the place of their death. Their bodies were thrown into the Seine.

Years later the Abbey of St Denis was built over their tomb and churches on this site became the burial place of the French Kings. In England, 41 ancient churches are dedicated to and St Denys.

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