The writings of St. Irenaeus entitle him to a high place among the fathers of the Church, for they not only laid the foundations of Christian theology but, by exposing and refuting the errors of the gnostics, they delivered the Catholic Faith from the real danger of the doctrines of those heretics.
Irenaeus was probably born about the year 125, in one of those maritime provinces of Asia Minor where the memory of the apostles was still cherished and where Christians were numerous. He was most influenced by St. Polycarp who had known the apostles or their immediate disciples
Many priests and missionaries from Asia brought the gospel to the pagan Gauls and founded a local church. To this church of Lyon, Irenaeus came to serve as a priest under its first bishop, St. Pothinus, an oriental like himself. In the year 177, Irenaeus was sent to Rome. This mission explains how it was that he was not called upon to share in the martyrdom of St Pothinus during the terrible persecution in Lyons.
When Irenaeus returned to Lyons it was to occupy the vacant bishopric. By this time, the persecution was over. It was the spread of gnosticism in Gaul, and the ravages it was making among the Christians of his diocese, that inspired him to undertake the task of exposing its errors. He produced a treatise in five books in which he sets forth fully the inner doctrines of the various sects, and afterwards contrasts them with the teaching of the Apostles and the text of the Holy Scripture. His work, written in Greek but quickly translated to Latin, was widely circulated and succeeded in dealing a death-blow to gnosticism. At any rate, from that time onwards, it ceased to offer a serious menace to the Catholic faith.
The date of St. Irenaeus' death is not known, but it is believed to be in the year 202. His bodily remains 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 tomb or shrine was destroyed by the Calvinists in 1562, and any trace of his relics seems to have perished.
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Conferral of the Pallium on Metropolitan Archbishops
At 9.30 tomorrow morning, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at a Eucharistic concelebration with some 38 metropolitan archbishops, including one Canadian--Archbishop Albert LeGatt of St. Boniface, Manitoba--upon whom he will impose the pallium:
- Archbishop Luis Gerardo Herrera O.F.M. of Cuenca, Ecuador.
- Archbishop Alex Thomas Kaliyanil S.V.D. of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
- Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi O.M.I. of Maseru, Lesotho.
- Archbishop Antonio Fernando Saburido O.S.B. of Olinda and Recife, Brazil.
- Archbishop Albert Legatt of Saint-Boniface, Canada.
- Archbishop Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia - Citta della Pieve, Italy.
- Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Udine, Italy.
- Archbishop Gabriel Mblinghi C.S.Sp. of Lubango, Angola.
- Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philppines.
- Archbishop Constancio Miranda Weckmann of Chihuahua, Mexico.
- Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England.
- Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo Pelegrina of Seville, Spain.
- Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki of Milwaukee, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala, Cameroon.
- Archbishop Jesus Sanz Montes O.F.M. of Oviedo, Spain.
- Archbishop Anton Stres C.M. of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- Archbishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bertoua, Cameroon.
- Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa.
- Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Alberto Taveira Correa of Belem do Para, Brazil.
- Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium.
- Archbishop Antonio Lanfranchi of Modena - Nonantola, Italy.
- Archbishop Dominik Duka O.P. of Prague, Czech Republic.
- Archbishop Ricardo Antonio Tobon Restrepo of Medellin, Colombia.
- Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta O.S.A. of Panama, Panama.
- Archbishop Francis Kallarakal of Verapoly, India.
- Archbishop Desire Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar.
- Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain.
- Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-joong of Kwangju, Korea.
- Archbishop Luis Madrid Merlano of Nueva Pamplona, Colombia.
- Archbishop Thomas Gerard Wenski of Miami, U.S.A.
- Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, England.
- Archbishop Jozef Kowalczyk of Gniezno, Poland.
- Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Nhon of Hanoi, Vietnam.
- Archbishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah of Cape Coast, Ghana.
- Archbishop Bernard Bober of Kosice, Slovakia.
- Archbishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Acapulco, Mexico.
- Archbishop Luigi Moretti of Salerno - Campagna - Acerno, Italy.
The pallium in the time of Innocent III
The pallium (derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woollen cloak) is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously connected to the papacy.
The pallium, in its present Western form, is a narrow band, "three fingers broad", woven of white lamb's wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the centre resting on the shoulders over the chasuble and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop, is doubled on the left shoulder and sometimes is garnished, back and front, with three jewelled gold pins. The two latter characteristics seem to be survivals of the time when the Roman pallium was a simple scarf doubled and pinned on the left shoulder.
For his formal inauguration Pope Benedict XVI adopted an earlier form of the pallium, from a period when it and the omophor were virtually identical. It is wider than the modern pallium although not as wide as the modern omophor (the vesture worn by eparchs and bishops in the Oriental churches, similar to what is worn by Irenaeus and Innocent in the illustrations), made of wool with black silk ends, and decorated with five red crosses, three of which are pierced with pins, symbolic of Christ's five wounds and the three nails. Only the Papal pallium was to take this distinctive form.
Beginning with the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29, 2008) Benedict XVI reverted to a form similar to that worn by his recent predecessors, albeit in a larger and longer cut and with red crosses, therefore remaining distinct from pallia worn by metropolitans.
New form of the pallium, with red crosses, worn by Pope Benedict XVI since 2008
At present only the Pope and metropolitan archbishops wear the pallium. A metropolitan has to receive the pallium before exercising his office in his ecclesiastical province, even if he was previously metropolitan elsewhere. No other bishops, even non-metropolitan archbishops or retired metropolitans, are allowed to wear the pallium unless they have special permission. For example, Angelo Sodano, the newly elected Dean of the College of Cardinals, received the privilege of wearing the pallium for the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia on June 29, 2005 [from wikipedia].