It is believed, although unrecorded, that Saint Irenaeus was born c. 120/140 in Asia Minor and died c. 200/230 in present-day Lyon, France. As a leader in 2nd century Christian theology, he served as bishop of Lugdunum (Lyon). Before becoming a bishop, he was a missionary to and peacemaker among the churches of Asia Minor.
Saint Irenaeus was a man to whom truth was a conciliator, uniting those caught in a web of disagreement, and opening hearts to God and His Son Jesus. He painstakingly researched doctrines of the various sects popular in the 2nd century, with particular emphasis on the Gnostics, a Greek word meaning “knowledge.” Saint Irenaeus then wrote a five-book treatise – Adversus haereses – contrasting their intellectual and confusing pursuits with the teaching of the Apostles and writings of Holy Scripture, which Gnostics denied. First written in Greek and then translated to Latin, the treatise demolished the gnostic heresy, and firmly established the validity of the Christian Way. Throughout his life, his goal remained that of winning the souls of his opponents to Christ as opposed to proving them wrong. Controversy and confrontation, in his hands, became instruments of peace.