St-Irénée, France

The Église St-Irénée (Church of St. Irenaeus) in Lyon is a modest 19th-century church that marks the burial place of Lyon's most illustrious Christian citizen.

St. Irenaeus (125-202) was born in Asia Minor and became a priest under the first bishop of Lyon. He was on an errand in Rome when persecution broke out in Lyon, and when he returned he took the place of the martyred Bishop of Lyon, St. Pothius.

St. Irenaeus is best known for his writings against the Gnostics, a fringe Christian sect that flourished in the first centuries of the church. He was also a moderate voice in the escalating controversy over the date of Easter.

St. Irenaeus died around the year 202. A later tradition has it that he was martyred under Septimus Severus, but most scholars doubt he was martyred. His feast day is celebrated on June 28 in the West and August 23 in the East.

The remains of St. Irenaeus were buried in a crypt under the altar of what was then called the Church of St. John, but was later known by the name of St. Irenaeus himself. This was one of the oldest churches in France.

The church was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries, and the tomb and relics of Irenaeus were destroyed by Protestants in 1562.

The current Church of St. Irenaeus dates from the 19th century. The crypt where the saint was buried has been rebuilt and visitors can also see an early Christian apse and three first-century Roman tombs.


Getting There

The Church of St. Irenaeus in located in the St-Irénée neighborhood, west of the Sâone and south of Fourvière.

Quick Facts on St-Irénée

Site Information
Dedication: St. Irenaeus
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:45.755139° N, 4.813417° E
Lodging:View hotels near St-Irénée
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

More Information

© Holly Hayes
A plaque outside explains the history of the church. © Holly Hayes

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