Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror

58. Dionysius

Dionysius Areopagita, Who Was Converted By Paul, Martyred For Confessing Jesus Christ, About The Year 112

We read in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 17, verse 34, that among those who clave unto the doctrine of Paul, there was also Dionysius, one of the Athenian council, and a woman named Damaris.

It is testified of this Dionysius, surnamed the Areopagite, that he so increased in the Christian religion, that Paul afterwards appointed him bishop at Athens; yet, that finally, after having made a most glorious confession of faith, and suffered many severe torments, he was crowned, as a victorious hero of Jesus Christ, with the martyr’s crown, when he had got to be a very old man, and had commended his spirit into the hands of his heavenly Father. He now accomplished what he was wont to frequently repeat in his life: “The last words of my Lord Jesus, while on the cross, shall also be my last words in this temporal life, namely: ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.'” Thereupon he was put to death, and thus fell asleep happy in the Lord. Compare A. Mell., 1st book of the Histor. der vervolg. en Mart., printed A.D. 1619., fol. 26, col.2, from Adonein Martyrol. ex Arist. lib. de Relig. Christ and Suida in Dion. Areopag. and Seger., in Chron. 10. Strac. in Pass, Part. S. Homil. 2, with W. Baudart, in Apophthegm Christian, 1st book 7th edition, A. D. 1640, p. 17, on the name Dionysius Areopagita.

NOTE.—Touching the manner of the death, or martyrdom, of Dionysius the Areopagite, we find nothing stated in ancient, trustworthy writers; hence we have said nothing about it, though some have written, that he was beheaded at paris; for which statement we let them be responsible, since their accounts of this event differ in regard to the manner in which, as well as the time when, it is said to have occurred. See in the above-mentioned Apophthegm Baudartii.

Thieleman J. Van Braght (1625-1664) was an Anabaptist who is best known for writing a history of the Christian witness throughout the centuries entitled “The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660” (1660).

Thieleman J. Van Braght, Martyrs Mirror