Monday, June 28, 2010

Ireanaeus of Lyons

Commemoration of Irenaeus of Lyons, Pastor
June 28, 2010

The Lord be with you

June 28 has been set aside on our liturgical calendars to remember Irenaeus of Lyons. He lived from around 130 to 200 AD and is believed to be a native of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey). He studied in Rome and later became pastor in Lyons, France. Around 177 AD, while Irenaeus was away from Lyons, a fierce persecution of Christians led to the martyrdom of his bishop. Upon Irenaeus’s return, he became the second bishop of Lyons. Among his most famous writings is a work condemning heresies, especially Gnosticism, which denied the goodness of creation. In opposition, Irenaeus confessed that God has redeemed his creation through the incarnation of the Son. Irenaeus also affirmed the teachings of the Scriptures handed down to and through him as being normative for the Church. This defense against heretics with novel ideas provided by some sort of “special” knowledge remains the bulwark of the Church today. The Bible is our Faith’s solid foundation. Because Irenaeus provided lengthy quotes from the heretics he opposed and whose works would otherwise have been lost, we have a much clearer understanding of what they believed. He also provides us a clear witness to the New Testament books that were received in his day and age. They are the same we have today. He clearly taught that “the ground and pillar of our faith” is the Scriptures “handed down to us” “by the will of God.” Unlike many of his contemporaries, Irenaeus was raised in a Christian home, probably baptized as an infant by Polycarp. Polycarp was a student of St. John.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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