Denis, Or Denys,(Lat. Dionysius), Saint, apostle and first bishop of Paris in the 3d century. He was one of a company of missionaries who were sent from Rome, about 250, to revive the drooping church in Gaul; and after preaching in various parts of that country and suffering much at the hands of the pagans, he arrived at Lutetia (Paris), where he made many converts. He built a church there, and made it the seat of his bishopric. During the persecution under Aurelian he was condemned to death by the Roman governor Pescennius, and with a priest named Rusticus, and a deacon Eleutherus, was beheaded in 272. The bodies were thrown into the Seine, but were recovered by a Christian woman, Catulla, who caused them to be interred near the scene of the execution. A chapel was built over the spot, and after it had fallen to ruin was replaced by St. Genevieve with a church in 469, which was afterward united to the famous abbey of St. Denis, founded by Dagobert about 636. St. Denis became the patron of the kingdom, and his name served as a war cry to the French, who used to rally in battle at the words Montjoye Saint Denis. His festival is kept Oct. 9. The popular belief that after his decapitation he walked about with his head in his hands may have originated in the ancient paintings, which represented him so engaged, as an emblem of the manner of his death.