It is an historical fact that Benignus suffered martyrdom in a persecution of the 3rd century and was publicly honored as a martyr. His feast falls on November 1; his name stands under this date in the so-called Martyrology of St. Jerome
Early in the 6th century no particulars concerning the person and life of Benignus were known at Dijon. He may have been a missionary priest from Lyon, martyred at Epagny under Aurelian, near Dijon, in the late 2nd century.
According to Gregory of Tours the common people reverenced his grave; but Bishop Saint Gregory of Langres (507 or 507-539 or 540) wished to put an end to this veneration, because he believed the grave to belong to a heathen. Having learned in a vision at night that the burial spot (once a large Roman cemetery) was that of the holy martyr Benignus, he had the tomb in which the sarcophagus lay restored, and he build a basilica over it. A larger church was built by its abbot William of Volpiano for Saint Benignus' Abbey, Dijon, his Cluniac monastery at the site. Benignus' church and tomb have survived an earthquake in 1280 and the French Revolution. His sarcophagus can still be seen in the crypt under Dijon Cathedral.