Irenaeus of Lyons

Authored by: D. Jeffrey Bingham

The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought

Print publication date:  December  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415442251
eBook ISBN: 9780203864517
Adobe ISBN: 9781135193430


 Download Chapter



In the year 177, Pothinus, the bishop of Lyons, was ninety years old. He died that summer after two days of beatings at the hands of the Romans for his insistence that Christ was the Christian God. A terrible persecution had come upon the Christians of Lyons (Lugdunum to the ancient Romans), in modern France, and those of its neighboring city, Vienne, some sixteen miles south on the east bank of the Rhône. We are fortunate to have a selective record of this trial in the Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne preserved for us by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. 1 To the name of Pothinus, among others, we may add that of Attalus, who was burned alive in the amphitheater which lies nestled on the gentle and shaded slopes of the Croix-Rousse hill in Lyons. Maturus and Sanctus, too, were tormented there by the flames, and Blandina, after many tortures, was finally gored to death by a bull. Each sacrificed themselves in imitation of the true fleshly passion of Christ, their Incarnate-God, in hope of the bodily resurrection. So fundamental and pervasive was their resurrection-faith, that the Romans cremated the martyrs’ corpses and dispersed the ashes in the river in hopes of defeating any notion of Christians being raised bodily from their graves.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.