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June 28

Saint Ireneaus of Lyons in Church of St Ireneaus, Lyons, France  June 28

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons

Bishop, Martyr, and
Doctor of the Church

(Around 130 – 202)

“Jesus Christ, in His infinite love, has become what we are, in order that He may make us entirely what He is.

Saint Ireneaus of Lyons

Saint’s Life Story

Little Known of His Youth 

Ireneaus was born around 130 in Smyrna, Asia Minor (modern-day İzmir, Turkey). Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was brought up in a Christian family rather than converting as an adult. Little of is known of Ireneaus’ youth except that he was well educated. Ireneaus was influenced after listening to the preaching of Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, who was a disciple of St. John.  Ireneaus studied in Rome and was later appointed presbyter. Ireneaus was sent by St . Polycarp as missionary to Gaul (France). Here, he was a priest under St. Pothinus, who was Bishop of Lyons.  

Bishop of Lyons

In 177, Ireneuas was sent to Rome with a letter from his fellow Christians to Pope St. Eleutherius pleading for leniency to the Montanists heresy in Asia Minor. In Ireneaus’ absence, a voilent persecution broke out claiming the lives of many Christians, including Bishop Saint Pothinus. In 178, Ireneaus returned and was chosen Bishop of Lyons. 

Evangelized

Ireneaus actively evangelized in the area around Lyons while he was bishop. He was a fierce opponent of Gnosticism in Gaul which he refuted in his five-book treatise entitled, Adversus Omnes Haereses (Against Heresies). Ireneaus also wrote in Greek the apologetic work entitled The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, which was discovered in 1904 in an Armenian copy. This work seems to have been an instruction for recent Christian converts.

St. Ireneaus of Lyons statute - June 28

Converted Many

In 190, Ireneaus was successful in reconciling the Quartodecimans, who had been excommunicated by Pope Victor III for refusing the celebrate Easter on the Western used date adopted by Rome. Through his preachings, Ireneaus converted many to the faith. Through his writing, he combatted the heresies that were rampant.

His Martyrdom

Ireaneaus died a martyr in 202 in Lugdunum, Gaul (Lyon, France) during the persecution of Septimus Severus. Ireneaus was one the first great Catholic theologians. He was a recognized authority of the Scriptures and known as one of the Fathers of the Church. Pope Francis declared Saint Irenaeus the 37th Doctor of the Church on January 21, 2022. 

Born:                   Around 130 in Smyrna, Asia Minor (Izmir, Turkey)

Died:                    Around 202 (Feast Day – Jun 28) in Lugdunum, Gaul (Lyon, France)

Beatified:            Pre-Congregation

Canonized:         Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          June 28

Patron Saint:    Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama

Sources:

Reflection

Saint Ireneaus combined his academic and speaking skills to refute Gnosticism heresies in his writings. He preached the Gospel in Gaul to convert many around him.

How can you use your skills to defend your Catholic beliefs? How can you reach out to others through the language of our actions to convert others to your Catholic faith?

Prayers

Gracious Saint Irenaeus,

Faithful servant of Christ and defender of the truth, you tirelessly labored to preserve the purity of the Gospel, and to protect the Church from the snares of false teachings.

Your wisdom and insights continue to inspire believers, guiding us in our faith journey, and helping us to discern the true teachings of Christ.

As we face the challenges of our times, we humbly ask for your intercession and prayers.

Help us to remain steadfast in our faith, to love God with all our hearts, and to love and serve our neighbors as ourselves.

Protect us from the pitfalls of error, and lead us into a deeper understanding of God’s truth.

Saint Ireneaus of Lyons, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – 10 inspiring quotes from Saint Irenaeus

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 28 June – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Catholic Exchange – Ten Things You Need to Know about St. Irenaeus

Catholic Fire – St. Irenaeus: Bishop and Father of the Church

Catholic Ireland – June 28 – St Irenaeus (c. 135-202) bishop

Catholic News Agency – St. Irenaeus Feast Day: Jun 28

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Ireneaus of Lyons

Franciscan Media – Saint Irenaeus

Loyola Press – St Ireneaus of Lyons Feast Day June 28

My Catholic Life – Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

National Catholic Register – Who is Saint Irenaeus of Lyons? by Father John P. Cush

New Advent – St Ireneaus’ Against Heresies

Saint of the Day – St. Ireneaus

uCatholic – Catholic Saint of the Day: Saint Irenaeus

Video Link

St. Ireneaus of Lyons – YouTube (Cradio)