Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Irenaeus.
Here's what you need to know...
St. Irenaeus was a bishop in the 2nd century, noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christianity in present-day France, and his fierce opposition to the heresy gnosticism.
He was born in Smyrna, now modern day Turkey, and is believed to have heard the preaching of St. Polycarp, who in turn was said to have heard the preaching of St. John the Evangelist.
Irenaeus is most known for his work “On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis” which was five book treatise targeting the falsehoods of gnosticism. Gnosticism was a very problematic heresy at that time claiming access to secret knowledge imparted by Jesus to only a few disciples, their teaching was attracting and confusing many Christians.
Irenaeus’s work, was widely used and translated into multiple languages and eventually ended the influence of the Gnostics.
His date of death is unknown, but it is believed to be around the year 202. Some historians believe he may have been martyred.
The bodily remains of St. Irenaeus were buried in a crypt under the altar of what was then called the church of St. John, but is now known as St. Irenaeus. Unfortunately Irenaeus’s tomb was destroyed by the Calvinists in 1562, and all trace of his relics are lost.
St. Irenaeus, ora pro nobis!
Happy Feast Day everyone.