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Rome Reports

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St. Irenaeus a step closer to being declared a Doctor of the Church

Pope Francis is analyzing a proposal presented by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to declare St. Irenaeus a Doctor of the Church.

The Pope had already affirmed his intention to declare the second-century saint a Doctor of the Church during an audience with the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group in 2021.

October 7, 2021
"Your patron, Saint Irenaeus of Lyon – whom soon I will willingly declare a Doctor of the Church with the title “Doctor unitatis” – came from the East, exercised his episcopal ministry in the West, and was a great spiritual and theological bridge between Eastern and Western Christians."

St. Irenaeus is thought to have lived between around the years 130 and 202. He was likely born in Smyrna, in present-day Turkey, and was the Bishop of Lyon, France.

The saint's writings, among them “Against Heresies” and “The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching,” were written at a time when the Church was being threatened by Gnosticism, which taught that the faith was merely a symbol for people incapable of understanding challenging concepts.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke admiringly about the saint during a General Audience in 2007. He described St. Irenaeus as “a man of faith and a Pastor,” and as “the champion in the fight against heresies.”