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St. Irenaeus of Lyons
St. Irenaeus (c 130-202 CE) was the most important theologian of the second century. In his youth, Irenaeus knew Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Pothinus, first Bishop of Lyons, asked Irenaeus to become a presbyter at the Church of Lyons. During peace missions to Rome, Irenaeus strongly opposed Gnosticism and urged Victor I to maintain peace with Asia Minor concerning a controversy over the correct date of Easter. Pothinus was martyred under the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius in 177 while Irenaeus was away in Rome. Upon Irenaeus' return, he was appointed Bishop of Lyons. Irenaeus' best known writings are Against Heresies and Proof of the Apostolic Preaching. In these works, he refuted Gnosticism and defended the belief that the Old Testament God and the New Testament God are one in the same, using the notions of recapitulation and apostolic tradition as proof. Irenaeus was the first person to develop an Old Testament and New Testament that worked together. He was also the first person to cite reasons for admitting or rejecting books into the canon. Irenaeus died in Lyon around 202.
Theresa A. Winters
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