St. Irenaeus

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A stained glass image of St. Irenaeus
Wikimedia Commons

St. Irenaeus

Feast day: June 28

Born in Asia Minor, possibly at Smyrna, Irenaeus was influenced in his early life by St. Polycarp, who was a pupil of St. John the Apostle. Irenaeus studied in Rome and was then sent as a missionary to Gaul, where he served as a priest under St. Pothinus of Lyons. After Pothinus was martyred, Irenaeus succeeded him as bishop. During a 20-year episcopate, Irenaeus continued to spread the Gospel and opposed the Gnostic heresy. He authored Adversus Haereses, a sharp critique of Gnosticism. Irenaeus is recognized as one of the early Church’s most talented proponents of orthodoxy. Irenaeus was canonized in 1202, and Pope Francis declared him a Doctor of the Church in 2022. He is patron of apologists and catechists.


O God, who called the Bishop Saint Irenaeus
to confirm true doctrine and the peace of the Church,
grant, we pray, through his intercession,
that, being renewed in faith and charity,
we may always be intent on fostering unity and concord.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

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