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and proof of the truth of principal Christian dogmas for the ordinary
faithful; a letter On the Monarchy of God which contains the teachings of
St. Polycarp against God as the author of evil; and other letters, namely,
On the Ogdoad, On Schism, On Science, and fragments contained in
Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 5, 16; 19, 1) of letters to Pope Victor on
the Easter question.
After the incident between Pope Victor and Polycrates, St. Irenaeus drops
out of the limelight. According to St. Jerome (Commentary on Isaiah) and
Gregory of Tours (History of the Franks), he died a martyr’s death around
the year 202 in the general massacres of Christians under Septimus
Severus, though Eusebius, who possessed a good knowledge of St.
Irenaeus’ life, makes no mention of this.
Themes for study:
St. Irenaeus as the student of, and heir to, St. Polycarp’s teaching;
St. Irenaeus as Bishop of Lyons;
St. Irenaeus’ writing of Against Heresies and his struggle against
Gnosticism;
Apostolic tradition as passed on by the Bishops of Rome as the rule
of faith.
Further reading:
Fr. John Laux, Church History, TAN Books and Publishers, 1930,
pp. 60-62;
Tixeront – Raemers, A Handbook of Patrology, B. Herder Book
Co., 1946, pp. 77-80;
Rev. William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, The
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, Vol. 1, p. 84;
Patrick J. Hamell, Handbook of Patrology, Alba House, 1968, pp.
47; 51-55.
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