St. Irenaeus (c. 125-203)
Witness to Apostolic tradition. Irenaeus was born in Smyrna in the Roman province of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). He was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of St. John the Apostle. Irenaeus moved to Lyon, where he served as a priest in the mission field of Gaul (modern day France). Ireneaus was to become the second bishop of Lyon. Through truth and Apostolic Tradition, Ireneaus sought to preserve unity among the Christian faithful. He refuted the sect of Gnosticism in a five volume work, leaving a witness to the faith and practice of the early Church. Ireneaus also preserved a group of Christians from Asia Minor from being excommunicated by the Pope for observing Easter on the same day as the Jewish feast of Passover rather than on Sunday, acknowledging the tradition of which they observed. However, after the Council of Nicea, these freely came to embrace the tradition of the Church of Rome and observe Easter on the Sunday too. Often Ireneaus is regarded as a martyr.
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.