Early Church History 17

Irenaeus:  The Lion of Lyons  ECH17

Irenaeus in Gaul, around 177. Lyons, Lugdunum

Pope Eleutherus

"The letter of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia"

Bishop Potheinos

The Slave Blandina, Deacon Sanctus, Alexander, Maturus, Ponticus

"Christianus sum" and "Semen sanguis Christianorum est"

Septimus Severus

Adversus Haereses: "Detection and overthrow of the Pretended but False Gnosis"

Part I: detection: Vatentinus, Simon Magus, Basilides, Carocrates, the Ebionites, the Nicolaites, Marcion, Tatian, the Encratites

Part II: Four books, #V, on the resurrection of the flesh

Quasten: Irenaeus knows how to give a simple, clear and convincing description of the doctrines of the Church. His work remains therefore of the greatest importance for the knowledge of the Gnostic system and the theology of the early Church.

Demonstrations of Apostolic Teaching. 1904 discovery of Armenian text; quoted in Eusebius, Hippolytus and Epiphanius.

Of Creation: "Let us make man after our image and likeness." the Holy spirit fills the prophets with charism to serve the mission of the Logos who is sent on behalf of the Father.  This is the economy of salvation.

Theory of Recapitulation, "Christ renews, restores, reorganizes creation all over again."

Ad Hae. 3 "When he became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of man, summing up and giving us salvation in order that we might receive against in Christ Jesus what was had lost in Adam, that is, the image and likeness of God."

Mary is "advocata Evae." "and if the former (Eve) did disobey God, yet the latter (Mary) was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve.  And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it was rescued by a virgin. (Ad Hae 5)

In the birth of Christ, "the pure one opening purely that pure womb which regenerates men unto God."

Quasten: The teaching of the Apostles continues to live on unaltered.  This tradition is the source and the norm of the faith. It is the canon of Truth."

"propter potentiorem principalitatem"  For with this Church, because of its more effective leadership, all Churches must agree, that is to say, the faithful of all places, because in it the apostolic tradition has been always preserved by the faithful of all places."

Eucharist: "When, therefore, the mingled cup and the manufactured bread receives the Word of God (έπιδέχεται τόν Λόγον τοϋ Θεοϋ)  and the Eucharist becomes the blood and body of Christ from which things the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they affirm that the flesh is incapable of receiving the gift of God...?


189 Pope Victor I

Marcia and Carpophorus, slave Callistus and Priest Hyacinthus

Emperor Commodus

Easter? Blastus, Quarto-deciman (14 Nisan)

"The consideration of the same question by the whole catholic church through concerted regional synods is a landmark in Christian history." Carrington

Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus

Irenaeus reminded Pope Victor of the meeting about Easter between Pope Anicetus and Saint Polycarp: "They parted from each other in peace and kept peace in the Church both for those who observed and those who did not observe."

NOTE: An excellent website on apologists and apologetics can be found at

Dr. John Gresham of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.