Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.
Bishop and Martyr.
Feast Day 28 June.
An engraving of Saint Irenaeus (circa 130 A.D. - 202 A.D.).
Towards the end of the Second Century A.D., when Gnostic Sects endeavoured to undermine the basis of The Christian Religion, God raised up Saint Irenaeus to oppose them. "He granted him the Grace to destroy the Heresies by the Truth of his doctrine" (Collect).
Succeeding Saint Pothinus in the See of Lyons, in 177 A.D., Saint Irenaeus "Preached in Season and out of Season", as Saint Paul prescribes (Epistle) and constituted himself defender of Christ (Gospel) and of His Spouse.
"The Church", he declares, "disseminated throughout the World, to the extremities of the Earth, professes The Faith she has received from The Apostles, who themselves received it from The Son of God." This Church has its centre at Rome. "With her, every Church must be in agreement because of her primacy; for, through the succession of Roman Pontiffs, the Apostolic Tradition of The Church has come down to us."
An ardent apologist, Saint Irenaeus was also a profound Theologian. He has been called the Father of the Catholic Theology and the golden link binding the spirit of the Gospel to the Doctrine of The Fathers. With his ears still full of the last echoes of Apostolic Teaching (Alleluia), he was the first to write a reasoned summary of our Faith. His Treatise "False Doctrine Unmasked and Refuted", also called "Against Heresies", gave the death blow to the Gnostic Heresy.
Saint Jerome gives him the glorious title of Martyr. He died, as is believed, during the persecution of Emperor Septimus Severus in 202 A.D. Pope Benedict XV extended his Feast to the Universal Church.
Commemoration: The Octave of Saint John the Baptist.
Commemoration: The Vigil of The Apostles.