Now the Papacy in its excess of zeal for saints and saint-worship, has actually split Dionysus Eleuthereus into two, has made two several saints out of the double name of one Pagan divinity; and more than that has made the innocent epithet Rusticum which even among the heathen had no pretensions to divinity at all a third and so it comes to pass that under the date of October the 9th we read this entry in the calendar “The festival of St Dionysius and of his companions St Eleuther and St Rustic.” Now this Dionysius whom Popery has so marvellously furnished with two companions is the famed St Denys the patron saint of Paris; and a comparison of the history of the Popish saint and the Pagan god will cast no little light on the subject. St Denys, on being beheaded and cast into the Seine, so runs the legend, after floating a space on its waters, to the amazement of the spectators, took up his head in his hand and so marched away with it to the place of burial. In commemoration of so stupendous a miracle a hymn was duly chanted for many a century in the Cathedral of St Denys at Paris, containing the verse:
Se cadaver mox erexit,
Truncus truncum caput vexit,
Quem ferentem hoc direxit
The corpse immediately arose;
the trunk bore away the dissevered head,
guided on its way by a legion of angels.
At last, even Papist began to be ashamed of such an absurdity being celebrated in the name of religion; and in 1789, “the office of St. Denys” was abolished. Behold, however, the march of events. The world has for some time past been progressing back again to the dark ages. The Romish Breviary, which had been given up in France, has, within the last six years, been reimposed by Papal authority on the Gallican Church, with all its lying legends, and this among the rest of them; the Cathedral of St. Denys is again being rebuild, and the old worship bids fair to be restored in all its grossness. Now, how could it ever enter the minds of men to invent so monstrous a fable? The origin of it is not far to seek. The Church of Rome represented her canonised saints, who were said to have suffered martyrdom by the sword, as headless images or statues with the severed head borne in the hand. “I have seen,” says Eusebe Salverte, “in a church of Normandy, St. Clair; St. Mithra, at Arles, in Switzerland, all the soldiers of the Theban legion represented with their heads in their hands. St. Valerius is thus figured at Limoges, on the gates of the cathedral, and other monuments. The grand seal of the canton of Zurich represents, in the same attitude, St. Felix, St. Regula, and St. Exsuperantius. There certainly is the origin of the pious fable which is told of these martyrs, such as St. Denys and many others besides.” This was the immediate origin of the story of the dead saint rising up and marching away with his head in his hand. But it turns out that this very mode of representation was borrowed from Paganism, and borrowed in such a way as identifies the Papal St. Denys of Paris with the Pagan Dionysus, not only of Rome but of Babylon. Dionysus or Bacchus, in one of his transformations, was represented as Capricorn, the “goat-horned fish;” and there is reason to believe that it was in this very form that he had the name of Oannes. In this form in India, under the name “Souro,” that is evidently “the seed,” he is said to have done many marvellous things. Now, in the Persian Sphere he was not only represented mystically as Capricorn, but also in the human shape; and then exactly as St. Denys is represented by the Papacy. The words of the ancient writer who describes this figure in the Persian Sphere are these: “Capricorn, the third Decan. The half of the figure without a head, because its head is in its hand.” Nimrod had his head cut off; and in commemoration of that fact, which his worshipers so piteously bewailed, his image in the Sphere was so represented. That dissevered head, in some of the versions of his story, was fabled to have done as marvellous things as any that were done by the lifeless trunk of St. Denys. Bryant has proved, in this story of Orpheus, that it is just a slightly-coloured variety of the story of Osiris. As Osiris was cut in pieces in Egypt, so Orpheus was torn in pieces in Thrace. Now, when the mangled limbs of the latter had been strewn about the field, his head, floating on the Hebrus, have proof of the miraculous character of him that owned it. “Then,” says Virgil:–
“Then, when his head from his fair shoulders torn,
Washed by the waters, was on Hebrus borne,
Even then his trembling voice invoked his bride,
With his last voice, “Eurydice,’ he cried;
‘Eurydice, the rocks and river banks replied.”
There is diversity here, but amidst that diversity there is an obvious unity. In both cases, the head dissevered from the lifeless body occupies the foreground of the picture; in both cases, the miracle is in connection with a river. Now, when the festivals of “St. Bacchus the Martyr,” and of “St. Dionysius and Eleuther,” so remarkably agree with the time when the festivals of the Pagan god of wine were celebrated, whether by the name of Bacchus, or Dionysus, or Eleuthereus, and when the mode of representing the modern Dionysius and the ancient Dionysus are evidently the very same, while the legends of both so strikingly harmonise, who can doubt the real character of those Romish festivals? They are not Christian. They are Pagan; they are unequivocally Babylonian.
– Alexander Hislop (1806-1865), The Two Babylons: Papal worship Revealed to be the worship of Nimrod and His wife pgs 177-180