St. Irenaios (Irenaeus) of Lyons (+202)
Commemorated August 23
The Hieromartyr Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, was born in Smyrna (Asia Minor). As a young man, he received the finest education, studying poetics, philosophy, rhetoric, and other classical sciences. St. Polycarp of Smyrna (February 23) guided him in the Christian faith, baptized him, ordained him presbyter, and sent him to the dying bishop Pothinus (in present day Lyons, France).
St. Irenaeus expounded upon Orthodox teachings of faith in one of his fundamental works: “Detection and Refutation of the Pretended But False Gnosis.” He powerfully refuted the gnostics and heretics Valentinus and Marcian.
St. Greogory of Tours suggests that St. Irenaeus was beheaded for his confession of faith in 202 during the reign of Severus.
The Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, St. Polycarp of Smyrna, and St. Irenaeus of Lyons are three links in an unbroken chain of the grace of succession, which goes back to our Lord Jesus Christ.