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Feastday: November 17

Death: 265


Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt, called the Great. Born in Alexandria, Dionysius had a vision and converted to Christianity. He entered a catechetical school and studied under Origen, whom he succeeded as master of the school. Bishop Heraclas named him to this position in 232. In 247, Dionysius was elected bishop of Alexandria. During the persecution of the Church in 249, Dionysius was arrested but rescued and taken to the Libyan desert. He returned to Alexandria but had to flee again in another persecution. Dionysius supported Pope St. Cornelius in his battle against Novatian. After his second exile, this time to Kephro in the Libyan desert, Dionysius returned to Alexandria to find plague and civil unrest. He comforted the plague victims and protected Christians. St. Athanasius called Dionysius “the Teacher of the Catholic Church.” St. Basil surnamed him “the Great.”


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