Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Significance of the Desecration of the Tomb of St. Irenaeus by the Huguenauts

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, whom we have previously discussed, was a Greek (or Asian) and knew St. Polycarp. As a Priest in Lyons, he succceded the martyred Saint Pothinus as Bishop of Lyons. He was consulted by other Churchmen of his era about the refutation of the competing cults, such as the Gnostics and the Arians. His book, Against Heresies, was the result which was a taxonomy of the Gnostic Cults at the time. Though Against Heresies was a very necessary but tedious book, his work ultimately led to the Council of Carthage of 397, which selected the Books of the New Testament and discarded, once and for all, the Gnostic Gospels from the Scripture. An ardent proponent of Free Will, it is no accident that his remains were desecrated and totally destroyed by the Huguenot Calvinists in 1562 (two years before John Calvin's death in 1564, which makes Calvin at least an accomplice to this crime!), making the motive retaliation. Related to this Vandalism, I note in passing this fiery quote from A Church in Fort Colins in Colorado:

Dear Calvinist, do you think Romans 9 and other passages support predestination? The Gnostics did the same! This means that if your view of election and God's sovereignty is correct, then you have to be willing to admit that the early Christians -- those who gave you the Bible -- were all wrong about a major theological doctrine, and the Gnostics -- whom John rebukes as antichrists (2 John 1:7) -- were correct! Are you willing to admit this?

The "Theology" behind this Iconoclasm as summarized in The Epitome of the Definition of the Iconoclastic Conciliabulum held in 754 [which] declared:
Supported by the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers, we declare unanimously, in the name of the Holy Trinity, that there shall be rejected and removed and cursed one of the Christian Church every likeness which is made out of any material and colour whatever by the evil art of painters.... If anyone ventures to represent the divine image (χαρακτήρ, charaktēr) of the Word after the Incarnation with material colours, let him be anathema! .... If anyone shall endeavour to represent the forms of the Saints in lifeless pictures with material colours which are of no value (for this notion is vain and introduced by the devil), and does not rather represent their virtues as living images in himself, let him be anathema!

Iconoclasts, for Students of Byzantinology, were those who destroyed Icons for both Political (an appeal to the Freeholders of Asia Minor to join the Byzantine Army by catering to their religious inclinations) and Religious (retaliation from residual Manichaeans, Gnostics, Arians, and Monophysites left ofer from previous religious controversies) reasons. The Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787 in Nicea settled the issue once and for all, though some critics such as John Calvin did not accept it, as Calvin certainly condemned Icons. Naturally, this stand aligns John Calvin with the Iconoclasts, and along with them, the Manicheans and Gnostics.

On a personal note, I have purchased Archbishop Robert Dmitri Royster's Commentary on Epistle to the Romans. A quick perusal of this work tells me that this is going to be very deep reading, and I shall make reports on each chapter as I read it (That should take a year!). Second, as I scanned the critical passages in Romans 9, I noticed that St, Irenaeus was heavily quoted, along with St. John Chrysostom and Origen. Archbishop Dmitri, though a fair man, apparantly has no sympathy for the Calvinist interpretation of Romans. I've waited a lifetime for a work such as this, and I hope that I can finish it within my lifetime. I feel that I have had to prepare for this book for a lifetime.


Billy Birch said...

What reason(s) is given for the Huguenots in destroying Irenaeus's remains? And what in the world did that accomplish (except Calvinists showing their true colors)?! Was Calvin involved? Did he approve of it? Did he advise the desecration?


Constantino della Brazos said...

Billy, I agree that this desecration is totally senseless. Only the Totally Depraved behave so. I'll research this further, though references are scant.

As per John Calvin's involvement, he is at the very least an ACCOMPLICE, even without being involved. I have not found anything exculpatory for Calvin's sake from the last two years of his life. Calvin doesn't even have the excuse of being Syphyllitically Insane that Nietzsche had in the last ten years of his life.

You would be surprised how many enemies especially among the "Reformed" that St. Irenaeus has today.