2nd-century Greek bishop and Doctor of the Church

Irenaeus (early 2nd century – c. AD 202), also referred to as Saint Irenaeus, was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyon, France). He was an early Church Father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology.




Against Heresies

  • Polycarp replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Do you know me?" "I do know thee, first-born of Satan." Such was the horror of the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth.
    • Book 3, Chapter 3. From Readings in World Christian History (2013), pp. 58-99.
  • It is not necessary to seek truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church.
    • Book 3, Chapter 4. From Readings in World Christian History (2013), pp. 58-99.
  • Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei.
    • For the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God.
    • Book 4, Chapter 20, Section 7.
    • Often translated as "The glory of God is man fully alive," although some disagree with that translation (see [1]).
    • The context of the passage is: "And for this reason did the Word become the dispenser of the paternal grace for the benefit of men, for whom He made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but presenting man to God, and preserving at the same time the invisibility of the Father, lest man should at any time become a despiser of God, and that he should always possess something towards which he might advance; but, on the other hand, revealing God to men through many dispensations, lest man, falling away from God altogether, should cease to exist. For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God."
  • This expression [of our Lord], "How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldest not," [Matt 23:37] set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God.... And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment.... [4:37:5 p519f] And not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, "According to thy faith be it unto thee;" [Matt 9:29] thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, "All things are possible to him that believeth;" [Mark 9:23] and, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." [Matt 8:13] Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, "he that believeth in Him has eternal life while he who believeth not the Son hath not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him." [John 3:36]
  • Esaias says: “The wolf also shall feed with the lamb, and the leopard shall take his rest with the kid; the calf also, and the bull, and the lion shall eat together; and a little boy shall lead them. …” I am quite aware that some persons endeavour to refer these words to the case of savage men, both of different nations and various habits, who come to believe, and when they have believed, act in harmony with the righteous. But although this is [true] now with regard to some men coming from various nations to the harmony of the faith, nevertheless in the resurrection of the just [the words shall also apply] to those animals mentioned. For God is rich in all things. And it is right that when the creation is restored, all the animals should … revert to the food originally given by God … that is, the productions of the earth.


  • "The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death"
    • Fragment XI

Quotes about Irenaeus

  • [A] feature in the Valentinian account of creation is instructive regarding the much-debated question of the "Platonism" of the Gnostics. The world was created after the image of the invisible world of the Pleroma by a Demiurge carrying out unwittingly his mother's intention. His ignorance, however, was not complete, as is shown in the following...

    When the Demiurge further wanted to imitate the timeless nature of the upper Ogdoad (the original eight Aeons in the Pleroma), but could not express their immutable eternity, being as he was a fruit of defect, he embodied their eternity in the times, epochs, and great numbers of years, under the delusion that by the quantity of times he could represent their infinity. Thus truth escaped him and he followed the lie. Therefore his work shall pass away when the times are fulfilled. (Iren. I. 17. 2)

    This of course is a parody of the famous passage in the Timaeus (37 C ff.) where Plato describes the creation of time as "the moving image of eternity." The vast gulf that divides the spirit of this imitation will be evident to anyone who takes the trouble to compare the two passages.
Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original text related to: