" the greatest way to glorify God is with a life well lived"
Born in Asia Minor, probably Smyrna. He was a disciple of Polycarp who had been mentored by John the beloved. He studied in Rome then became a priest at Lyons at the invitation of the Ponthinus the first bishop of Gaul.
He was sent back to Rome with a message and on his return to Lyons found that Ponthinus had been killed in the persecution. Irenaeus was made the new bishop of Gaul. He remained in the West and died there.
Irenaeus made a later journey to Rome to plead for leniency toward the Montanists and for those Eastern Christians who were threatened with excommunication because they did not observe the Roman date for Easter.
His writings were important in the early development of Christian theology and the development of the Canon. Irenaeus also provides the first explicit witness to a four-fold gospel canon. He was the earliest Father of the Church to systematize the Christian beliefs that would later they the foundation for orthodox doctrine. He is frequently cited by later theologians.
Only two of his works survive—neither in the original Greek. The five-volume Against Heresies establishes Christian doctrine against the Gnostics and incidentally supplies much of our present information on Gnosticism. And the Epideixix or the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, which is a concise exposition of Christian doctrine.
He is recognized as a Saint by both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches.