Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (martyr)


Gnosticism  is a type of religious beliefs and spiritual practices found among some of the early and pre-Christian groups.Their name, Gnostics, comes from the Greek word for knowledge:gnōsis. Gnostic thought salvation came through the knowledge of esoteric spiritual truths that were revealed to a special class individual sand that salvation could be granted to others by members of this special class.Gnostics borrowed heavily from Christianity, it also was one of the earliest forms of Heresy.Gnostics Claimed  access to secret knowledge imparted by Jesus to only a few disciples, their teachings was attracted and confused many Christians. Saint Augustine, before converting to Christianity, was a follower of a form of Gnosticism.

Saint Irenaeus was born about the year 125, in Smyrna of Asia Minor(now İzmir, Turkey). He was influenced by St. Polycarp, who had known the apostles or their immediate disciples.In Irenaeus time many priests from Asia minor  brought the gospel to the Gaul’s of modern France .  Irenaeus came to serve as a priest to these people of Lyon(France).He was sent to Rome,then returned to Lyons  to become Bishop.When he returned to France,Gnosticism had taken hold .

Gnostic heresies were challenging many of the  Christians in his diocese. This threat inspired him to challenge the Heresies by authoring a treatise in five books called Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies . In these volumes Irenaeus detailed the doctrines of the various Gnostic sects, and then contrasted them with the teaching of the Apostles and Holy Scripture. It was the work of Saint Irenaeus removed the threat of Gnosticism on true Christian teachings.

Saint Irenaeus was buried under the Church of Saint John in Lyon, which was later renamed St Irenaeus in his honor. The tomb and his remains were destroyed in 1562 by the Huguenots.The exact date of his death is unknown, and he is considered to be a martyr for the faith.

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