|August 23: Orthodox saints|
|The Martyr Luppos lived at the end of the 3rd Century and beginning 4th Century, and was a faithful servant of the Martyr Demetrios of Soluneia [Thessalonika]. Luppos worked many miracles at Soluneia. By order of the emperor Maximian Galerius he was executed around 306.||
Notes for this article:
The Martyr Ireneius [Ireneios], Bishop of Lyons, was born in the year 130 in the city of Smyrna (Asia Minor). He received there the finest of educations, studying poetics [see Definitions, right], philosophy, rhetoric [see Definitions, right], and all the rest of the classical sciences, considered necessary for a young man of the world.
His guide in the truths of the Christian faith was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian -- Sainted Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp baptised Ireneius, and afterwards ordained him presbyter [see Definitions, right] and sent him off to a city in Gaul then named Lugdunum [the presentday city of Lyons in France] to the dying bishop Pothinus.
A commission was soon entrusted Saint Ireneius: to deliver a letter of Christ-confessors to the Bishop of Rome Eleutherius (177-190). During the time of his absence, all the known Christians were thrown into prison. After the death of Bishop Pothinus, Ireneius as bishop of the city of Lugdunum. "During which time," Sainted Gregory of Tyre writes concerning him, "by his preaching he transformed all Lugdunum into a Christian city!"
When the persecution against Christians quieted down, Ireneius expounded upon the Orthodox teachings of faith in one of his fundamental works "Detection and Refutation of Pretensively Called Gnosis-Knowledge," or in short form "Five Books against Heresy" ("Adversus Haereses").
During these times there had appeared a series of religious-philosophical Gnostic teachings. The Gnostics [from the Greek word "gnosis" meaning "knowledge"] taught, that God is not able to be incarnated [i.e. born in human flesh], since matter is imperfect and manifests itself as the bearer of evil. They taught also that the Son of God is only an outflowing ("emanation") of Divinity. Together with Him from the Divinity issues forth an hierarchical series of powers ("aeons"), the unity of which comprise the "Pleroma" (i.e. "Fullness"). The world is not made by God Himself, but by the "Demiourgos" ("Demiurge" [see Definitions, right]), which is beneath the "Pleroma." [see the Translator's Note, right]
In the refutation of the heresy of Valentinus, Ireneius presents the Orthodox teaching about salvation. "The Word of God, Jesus Christ, through His inexplicable blessedness caused it to be, that we also, should be made that which He is ... ," taught Ireneius, "Jesus Christ the Son of God through exceedingly great love for His creation condescended to be born of a Virgin, through His own Self having united mankind with God." Through the Incarnation of God creation becomes co-imaged and co-bodied to the Son of God. Salvation consists in the "Filiation" ("Sonship") and "Theosis" ("Divinisation") of humankind.
In the refutation of another heretic, Marcion, [see Definitions, right] Ireneius presents the teaching about the Same Origin of the Old and the New Testaments: "It is one and the same the Spirit of God, Which through the prophets proclaimed, in what manner precisely would be the coming of the Lord," wrote the saint, "He through the apostles preached, that the fullness of time of the filiation had arrived, and that the Kingdom of Heaven was come nigh."
The truth of Church teachings was grounded by Ireneius in the succession of the episcopacy, since the Church is more anciently primary than all the later heretics. "Anyone, who desires to know the truth, ought to turn to the Church, since through Her alone did the apostles propound the Divine Truth. She is the door to life."
Ireneius exerted also a beneficial influence in a dispute about the celebration of Pascha [Easter]. The Church of Asia Minor celebrated Pascha on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, irregardless of what day of the week this occurred. The Bishop of Rome Victor I (190-202) forcefully demanded uniformity, and his harsh demands fomented a schism. In the name of the Christians of Gaul, Saint Ireneius wrote to the Pope, that while it be impossible to allow a schism on account of traditions, yet foremost of all it is necessary to esteem churchly peace.
During the reign of the emperor Severus (193-211), Ireneius was executed for his confession of faith, in the year 202.
Saint Ireneius wrote to his old friend Florinus: "I was a young man when I saw you [Florinus] with Polycarp. I remember what then happened better than what now happens. And I can now describe for you the place, where blessed Polycarp usually sat and conversed. I can describe his mannerisms of life, the appearance of his body and his instructions which he spoke to people. The intimate conversations which, as he said, he had with John and others who had seen the Lord, and everything that he remembered from their words, that he heard from them about the Lord ... I heard this then, by the mercy of God, with fervour and did write it down, not upon paper, but upon the heart."
This Gnostic terminology reflects various attempts at a synthesis of the Neo-Platonic thought of the time with Christianity. But lest the reader be confused and consider all "gnosis" to be heretically Gnostic, there is indeed an Orthodox "Gnosis" theologically deriving from Christ as the "Logos" or "Word" -- "through Whom all things were made" (John 1:3) underlying the Creation, without which all theology itself would be impossible. Also, our account neglects to point out that the Adversus Haereses was a compendium of the teachings of all the known heresies of the time, publishing "for free" the esoteric salvation "secret teachings" of the Gnostics, who made a business charging money to be "initiated" into the upper level of "knowers" ("illuminati" or "electi"); in doing so he helped put them out of business.
The Monks Eutychius and Florentius pursued asceticism in the region of Nursa (Norica) in Italy during the 6th Century.
Eutychius, by his teaching, converted many to God. When the hegumen [see Definitions, right] of a nearby monastery died, the monks there appealed to Eutychius to become its leader. He consented, but continued to be concerned with the former place of his ascetic activity, where his companion Florentius remained.
Florentius worked many miracles during his life time. For example, he tamed a bear, which served him by shepherding sheep, carring water and obeying other commands of the elder. Jealous of the fame of Saint Florentius, four monks killed the bear. Florentius predicted the wrath of God upon the murderers, and it happened according to his words -- the monks were stricken with illness and died. But seeing the wrath of God having befallen the monks, Florentius was saddened and distressed, ever after that considering himself the murderer of those monks.
Sainted Kallinikos, Patriarch [see Definitions, right] of Constantinople (693-705), was at first presbyter [see Definitions, right] in the Church of the MostHoly Mother of God at Blakhernae, but in 693 with the death of Patriarch Paul (686-693), he was elevated to the Constantinople bishopric.
During this time, Justinian II (685-695) undertook the construction of a palace very near the Church of the MostHoly Mother of God and decided to demolish it. The emperor ordered Patriarch Kallinikos to give his blessing for tearing it down. The patriarch answered, that he had prayers only for the building of churches, not their destruction. When the church was demolished, with tears he cried out: "Glory to Thee, O Lord, in enduring all things."
Soon the wrath of God befell Justinian. He was toppled from the throne and sent for imprisonment to Chersonessus, where they cut off his nose (from which he received the nickname "Short-nose"). Emperor Leontius (695-698) came upon the throne. After 10 years Justinian fled from his imprisonment, gathered an army and advanced on Constantinople. He promised the Patriarch and the emperor that, in entering the city, he would harm no one, and gave his oath on this before the Cross, the Gospel and the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments). But having entered into Constantinople, he immediately broke his oath and began to destroy the citizens and people of importance, and executed the emperor. He ordered Kallinikos seized, and be shut in alive into a stone wall at Rome. After 40 days the walling collapsed and Kallinikos was found alive, although he died four days later (+705). The Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to the Roman Pope John VI (701-705) in a vivid dream and commanded that Saint Kallinikos be buried in the Church of the Apostles at Rome.