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Irenaeus (//; Greek: Εἰρηναῖος Eirēnaios; c. 130 – c. 202 AD) was a Greek bishop noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christian communities in the southern regions of present-day France and, more widely, for the development of Christian theology by combating heterodox or Gnostic interpretations of Scripture as heresy and defining proto-orthodoxy. Originating from Smyrna, he had seen and heard the preaching of Polycarp, who in turn was said to have heard John the Evangelist, and thus was the last-known living connection with the Apostles.
Irenaeus of Smyrna
|Born||c. 130 AD|
|Died||c. 202 AD|
Lugdunum in Gaul (modern-day Lyon, France)
|Notable work||Against Heresies|
|Tradition or movement||Trinitarianism|
|Main interests||Theodicy, millennialism|
|Notable ideas||Irenaean theodicy|
Recapitulation theory of atonement
|Feast day||June 28 (Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Orthodox Church); August 23 (Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches);|
Monday after fourth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Cross (Armenian Apostolic Church)
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Catholicism|
Assyrian Church of the East
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
|Title as Saint||Bishop, Martyr, Bishop of Lyons, Teacher of the Faith and Doctor of the Church.|
|Influences||Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Papias, Polycarp, The Shepherd of Hermas|
|Influenced||Agapius, Augustine, Basil the Great, Epiphanius, Hippolytus, Tertullian|
|Part of a series on|
Chosen as bishop of Lugdunum, now Lyon, his best-known work is Against Heresies, often cited as Adversus Haereses, a refutation of gnosticism, in particular that of Valentinus. To counter the doctrines of the gnostic sects claiming secret wisdom, he offered three pillars of orthodoxy: the scriptures, the tradition handed down from the apostles, and the teaching of the apostles' successors. Intrinsic to his writing is that the surest source of Christian guidance is the Church of Rome, and he is the earliest surviving witness to regard all four of the now-canonical gospels as essential.