Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus On Heresies, Eusebius and Modern Scholars, and Catholic Catechism

Eusebius explains, “Irenaeus, whose name means ‘peaceable’ and who by temperament was a peacemaker, pleased and negotiated for the peace of the churches.” There was a dispute between Bishop Viktor of Rome and the Asian dioceses over the length of a church fast, he was threatening excommunication over this dispute. Irenaeus interceded, arguing that “the dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast.” He pointed out the variations were differences in practice extending back to their forefathers. Although they had their differences, “they all lived in peace with one another, and so do we: the divergences in the fast emphasizes the unanimity of the faith.” […]

Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus Blog 2 On Heresies

St Irenaeus elegantly summarizes his refutation of Gnosticism, “If Christ was not born, neither did He die. If Christ did not die, neither did He rise from the dead. If He did not rise from the dead, He did not conquer death and abolish its reign. If Christ did not conquer death, how are we to ascend to the light, we who from the beginning have been subject to death? Those who rob man of redemption do not believe that God will raise man from the dead.” […]

Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus Blog 1 On Heresies, Introduction

St Irenaeus teaches us, “The redemption depends on the real Incarnation, the real suffering on the Cross, and the real resurrection of the flesh. All three of these are a scandal for Gnosticism. On their view, Mary is not really Mother of God, and Christ did not really suffer, NO, the heavenly Christ escaped before the man Jesus suffered, and there can be no question at all of an actual resurrection of the flesh. Underlying this refusal of the flesh and its saving role in the Incarnation is a confusion between the human spirit (nous) and the divine Holy Spirit.” The Gnostics want to replace the Holy spirit with the human spirit. Irenaeus preaches “the salvific character of the Incarnation of God’s Son and Word.” […]

Early Church Writing

Epistles of St Ignatius to the Romans and Polycarp

Repeatedly St Ignatius begs the Romans not to seek a pardon to prevent his martyrdom. He writes his rhapsody, “in the fullness of life I am yearning for death with all the passion of a lover. Earthly longings have been crucified; in me there is left no spark of desire for mundane things, but only a murmur of living water that whispers within me, ‘Come to the Father’. There is no pleasure for me in any meats that perish, or in the delights of this life; I am fain for the bread of God, even the flesh of Jesus Christ, who is the seed of David; and for my drink I crave that Blood of His which is Love imperishable.” “I am His wheat, ground fine by the lion’s teeth to be made purest bread for Christ.” […]

Early Church Writing

St Ignatius Epistles to the Ephesians, Magnesians, and Smyrnaeans

The early writings of St Ignatius of Antioch gave the early church a shining example of martyrdom. He was arrested by the authorities for his faith, like St Paul, and was being escorted to Rome to be fed to the wild animals in the arena. During the stops in his journey he received delegations from the various churches who received epistles from him to be read to their flocks. In his epistles to the churches St Ignatius insists that there be unity in the churches, that the members respect the bishops. He also tells them that a liturgy or sacrament that is not blessed by the bishop is not valid, that the faithful should be loyal and obedient to their bishop. These epistles were revered by the early church and were quoted often by the church fathers. […]