AUGUST 19, 2018 - "DEFENDING THE FAITH FROM HERETICS "
SAINT IRENAIOS was a guardian of Christianity who helped shape the early Church. He was born around 120 A.D. in the Asia Minor City of Smyrna. In his youth, he was a pupil of Saint Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostles.
Stories of Gaul, a distant land of spiritual darkness, attracted Irenaios. It was in the city of Lyons, that he felt he could best serve his Master. Although Christians outnumbered pagans, Irenaios was distressed to find out that the biggest threat was from WITHIN the church community. His untiring efforts lead to the cleansing of this divisive faction and kept his believers on the path to the True Faith. The hard work resulted in his elevation to Bishop of Lyons.
Irenaios was a peace-maker within the Church. One accomplishment attributed to him came as a result of a heated controversy over the date to celebrate the highest of all holydays, Pascha. This confusion led to it being observed on DIFFERENT Sundays in different parts of the Christian world! Under these misguided calculations, Pascha could even fall on a WEEKDAY rather than Sunday! The last thing that the fragile early Church needed was a disagreement weakening its beliefs. Along with Bishop Victor of Rome, they were able to resolve the issue. It is interesting to to note that these numerous different dates were reduced to the 2 that still exist between the Eastern and Western Churches.
In the year 202 A.D., evil Emperor Severus was ruthlessly persecuting Christians. Irenaios suffered for our Lord along with nineteen thousand martyrs. May he service as a pious example and guard us from straying from the path of the Gospel of our Lord.