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Saints Peter, Andrew, Paul, and Denise (Dionisia, Dionysia) are venerated as martyrs by the Catholic Church. They were killed in the 3rd century at Lampsacus, Mysia (in present-day Turkeymarker) in the Hellespontmarker.

According to tradition, Denise was martyred during the persecution of Christians by the Emperor Decius, along with three men named Andrew, Paul, and Nichomachus. Nichomachus, “presumptuous and over-confident”, denied that he was a Christian after he was tortured and was asked to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods. However, as he about to perform this task, he had a convulsion and fell dead. Andrew and Paul refused to apostasize and were tortured on the rack and then imprisoned.

Denise was a sixteen-year-old Christian girl who vocalized her unhappiness regarding Nichomachus’ apostasy. She was brought before the proconsul Optimus, and refused to abjure her faith. Optimus condemned her to be raped by several soldiers; however, according to Catholic tradition, she was “subjected to the approaches of three libertines, but was protected by an angel.” Paul and Andrew were finally led to their execution, and were stoned to death in the local arena.

Denise managed to escape from prison and locate the bodies of the two men. She publicly expressed her desire to share their martyrdom, was carried away by force, and was promptly ordered to be beheaded by Optimus.


Denise's relics were brought to the Abbey of Flône in Belgiummarker in 1922, and placed within a statue of wax; the relics included a vase associated that contains her crystallized blood. A second vase contains earth said to have been drenched with the blood of Christian martyrs. On the sarcophagus is embedded a marble tablet said to come from Roman catacombs; it carries the inscription: DIONISE, V.M..I.IN.P VIX. AN. XXIX. ("Denise, celebrated virgin martyr rests in peace. She lived 29 years").

The relics are visible through small openings; in the modern era this saint is invoked for protection against bicycle and motorcycle accidents and headaches.


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