Benignus of Dijon

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(3rd century),

martyr. He was probably a missionary from Lyons who suffered under Aurelian (270–5). In the crypt under Dijon cathedral his impressive sarcophagus can still be seen. This is on the site of an extensive Roman cemetery, originally (as always) outside the walls, but subsequently included within them. Gregory of Langres (6th century) built a basilica here with a monastery attached. Early in the 11th century William of Volpiano built a larger, three-level church for his reformed monastery of Cluniac observance which inspired the monastic revival in Normandy. In spite of earthquakes in 1280 and destruction at the Revolution, Benignus and his church have retained their importance in Burgundy's capital city, famous since the 6th century for its splendid buildings and fine wines. A late medieval carved cantor's staff of Benignus, depicting his fingers damaged (as in the legendary account of his martyrdom) still survives at Dijon. Feast: 1 November.

AA.SS. Nov. I (1887), 1153–64;G. Bardy in D.H.G.E., vii. 1314–15;Bibl. SS., ii. 1231–2.

Subjects: Christianity.

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