St Irenaeus

(c. 130—200) Greek theologian

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Bp. of Lyons from c.178. He is generally supposed to have been a native of Smyrna, and both in his life and thought he forms a link between E. and W. His main work, the Adversus Omnes Haereses, is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which then posed a serious threat to the Church. In modern times a second work, The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, has been found in an Armenian translation. Irenaeus is the first great Catholic theologian. He opposed Gnosticism, not by setting up a rival Christian Gnosis, but by emphasizing the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and the religious and theological tradition. He developed a doctrine of the ‘recapitulation’, or summary, of human evolution in the Incarnate Christ, thereby giving a positive value of its own to Christ's humanity. Feast day in the W., 28 June; in the E., 23 Aug.

Subjects: Christianity.

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