lundi 24 mars 2014

Saint IRÉNÉE de SIRMIUM, évêque et martyr

Saint Irénée de Sirmium

Évêque et martyr ( v. 305)

Evêque de Sirmium, aujourd'hui Mitrovica, au temps de l’empereur Maximien , sous le préfet Probus, il endura des tortures, subit une longue et pénible détention et fut enfin décapité à Sirmium en Pannonie - l'actuelle Hongrie.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/7968/Saint-Irenee-de-Sirmium.html

Le Saint Martyr du Christ Irénée était Evêque de Sirmium (aujourd'hui Srijemska Mitrovica), la capitale de la Pannonie Seconde, sous le règne de Dioclétien et Maximien (vers 304), à une époque où il était encore permis aux Evêques d'être mariés . Comme il proclamait avec assurance la Parole de Dieu et provoquait la conversion d'un grand nombre de ses concitoyens, il fut arrêté par les païens et traduit devant le gouverneur Probus. Après l'avoir interrogé sur son identité, le magistrat l'invita à sacrifier aux dieux invincibles, afin de vivre en paix dans la cité. Le valeureux disciple du Christ répondit qu'en aucune façon il ne se soumettrait aux coutumes idolâtres, et qu'il n'avait cure de la paix qu'on lui proposait. Il fut livré à diverses tortures: la flagellation, les ongles de fer et les verges, mais resta inébranlable dans sa confession du Sauveur. Poussant la cruauté à son comble, Probus avait convoqué la famille du saint pour assister aux supplices. Sa femme et ses enfants lui baisaient les pieds et le suppliaient d'avoir pitié d'eux, tandis que sa mère et sa domesticité se répandaient en lamentations. Comme le gouverneur le pressait de se laisser attendrir par ces larmes et de ne point perdre le meilleur de ses années, le Saint lui répliqua que c'était précisément pour ne pas se perdre éternellement qu'il refusait de sacrifier.

Renvoyé en prison, il comparut de nouveau devant le proconsul quelques jours plus tard. Comme on lui demandait s'il était marié et avait des enfants, élevant son âme au-dessus des sentiments de la nature, le Saint répondit: « Le Sauveur nous a enseigné que quiconque lui préférerait père, mère, femme et enfants (cf. Mat. 10:37) n'était pas digne de Lui. Aussi quand je pense à Dieu et à la félicité qu'Il a promise à ses fidèles serviteurs, je méprise toute chose de cette terre. Mes enfants ne perdront pas beaucoup à ma mort, car je leur laisse pour Père le Dieu qu'ils adorent avec moi. J'ai confiance qu'Il prendra soin d'eux et les fera héritiers de Son Royaume. Accomplis donc ce qui t'a été ordonné. » Le magistrat le condamna à être noyé dans la Save. Saint Irénée répliqua qu'après tant de menaces, il s'attendait à une mort plus cruelle; alors, hors de lui, Probus ordonna de le décapiter avant de le jeter dans le fleuve. Il fut amené sur le pont d'Artémis et, après avoir été dépouillé de ses vêtements, il rendit grâce au Christ de l'avoir rendu digne de participer par ces tourments à la gloire éternelle, puis les gardes lui tranchèrent la tête et jetèrent son corps dans le fleuve. Une église fut ensuite érigée en son honneur, à l'est de la cité, où il était vénéré comme un des plus illustres Martyrs de Sirrnium.

On rapporte que deux Chrétiens, probablement originaires d'Égypte, Ôr et Oropsis, comparurent alors aussi en jugement. On les précipita dans une fournaise, mais une ondée descendue du ciel éteignit le feu. Ils furent ensuite livrés en pâture aux fauves qui les laissèrent indemnes, et après avoir échappé à d'autres supplices, ils furent finalement décapités et jetés eux aussi dans la Save.

1. Le Synaxaire de Constantinople mentionne au 22 août un St Irénée et ses deux compagnons, Ôr et Oropsis, avec un résumé de leur passion qui ne précise ni lieu ni date. Mais dans le Ménologe Impérial (XI s.) Ôr et Oropsis sont associés à St Irénée de Sirmium, avec certains détails qui permettent de supposer que cette version est la plus authentique.


2. Progressivement entré dans les usages depuis le IVe s., le célibat ne fut imposé aux Evêques que sous le règne de Justinien.

SOURCE : http://calendrier.egliseorthodoxe.com/sts/stsaout/aout23.html

 St. Irenaeus of Sirmium

St. Irenaeus was bishop of the Baltic city of Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). During the persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian, he was arrested and brought before the local governor. Upon refusing the governor’s repeated demands that he must offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, Irenaeus was tortured on a rack.
During this torment, he was again urged to offer sacrifice, but he remained steadfast in his refusal. His resolve was further put to the test by the impassioned pleas of his family, who urged him to yield. At length, Irenaeus was sent back to prison, where he was subjected to more harsh treatment and additional tortures in a final effort to make him apostatize. But when he was again interrogated, he was found to be as firm as ever in his determination to persevere in his faith. In the end, he was beheaded.

SOURCE : http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/irenaeus-of-sirmium/

March 24


St. Irenæus, Bishop of Sirmium, Martyr

From the original authentic acts of his trial in Henschenius, Ruinart, p. 403. Tillemont, t. 4. p. 248. Ceillier, t. 3. p. 497.

A.D. 304

ST. IRENÆUS, bishop of Sirmium, capital of part of Pannonia, (now Sirmisch, a village in Hungary, twenty-two leagues from Buda to the South,) in the persecution of Dioclesian was apprehended and conducted before Probus, the governor of Pannonia, who said to him: “The divine laws oblige all men to sacrifice to the gods.” Irenæus answered: “Into hell fire shall he be thrown, whoever shall sacrifice to the gods.” PROBUS—“The edicts of the most clement emperors ordain that all sacrifice to the gods, or suffer according to law.” IRENÆUS—“But the law of my God commands me rather to suffer all torments than to sacrifice to the gods.” PROBUS—“Either sacrifice, or I will put you to the torture.” IRENÆUS—“You cannot do me a greater pleasure; for by that means you will make me partake of the sufferings of my Saviour.” The proconsul commanded him to be put on the rack; and whilst he was tortured, he said to him: “What do you say now, Irenæus? Will you sacrifice?” IRENÆUS—“I sacrifice to my God by confessing his holy name, and so have I always sacrificed to him.” All Irenæus’s family was in the utmost concern for him. His mother, his wife, and his children surrounded him. His children embraced his feet, crying out: “Father, dear father, have pity on yourself and on us.” His wife, dissolved in tears, cast herself about his neck, and, tenderly embracing him, conjured him to preserve himself for her, and his innocent children, the pledges of their mutual love. His mother, with a voice broken with sobs, sent forth lamentable cries and sighs, which were accompanied with those of their servants, neighbours, and friends; so that all round the rack on which the martyr was hanging, nothing was heard but sobs, groans, and lamentations. Irenæus resisted all these violent assaults, opposing those words of our Lord: If any one renounce me before men, I will renounce him before my Father who is in Heaven. He made no answer to their pressing solicitations, but raised his soul above all considerations of flesh and blood to him who was looking down on his conflict from above, waiting to crown his victory with immortal glory; and who seemed to cry out to him from his lofty throne in heaven: “Come, make haste to enjoy me.” The governor said to him: “Will you be insensible to such marks of tenderness and affection? Can you see so many tears shed for you without being moved? It is not beneath a great courage to be touched with compassion. Sacrifice, and do not destroy yourself in the flower of your age.” Irenæus said: “It is that I may not destroy myself that I refuse to sacrifice.” The governor sent him to prison where he remained a long time suffering divers torments. At the second time of examination, the governor, after having pressed him to sacrifice, asked him if he had a wife, parents, or children alive? The saint answered all these questions in the negative. “Who then were those that wept for you at your first examination?” Irenæus made answer: “Our Lord Jesus Christ hath said: He that loveth father or mother, wife or children, brothers or relations, more than me, is not worthy of me. So, when I lift up my eyes to contemplate that God whom I adore, and the joys he hath promised to those who faithfully serve him, I forget that I am a father, a husband, a son, a master, a friend.” Probus said: “But you do not therefore cease to be so. Sacrifice, at least, for their sakes.” Irenæus replied: “My children will not lose much by my death; for I leave them for father that same God whom they adore with me; so let nothing hinder you from executing the orders of your emperor upon me.” PROBUS. “Throw not yourself away. I cannot avoid condemning you.” IRENÆUS. “You cannot do me a greater favour, or give me a more agreeable pleasure.” Then Probus passed sentence after this manner: “I order that Irenæus, for disobeying the emperor’s commands, be cast into the river.” 1 Irenæus replied: “After so many threats, I expected something extraordinary, and you content yourself with drowning me. How comes this? You do me an injury; for you deprive me of the means of showing the world how much Christians, who have a lively faith, despise death, though attended with the most cruel torments.” Probus, enraged at this, added to the sentence that he should be first beheaded. Irenæus returned thanks to God as for a second victory. When arrived on the bridge of Diana, from which he was to be thrown, stripping off his clothes, and lifting up his hands to heaven, he prayed thus: “Lord Jesus Christ, who condescendest to suffer for the salvation of the world, command the heavens to open, that the angels may receive the soul of thy servant Irenæus, who suffers for thy name, and for thy people of the Catholic church of Sirmium.” Then his head been struck off, he was thrown into the river on the 25th of March, on which day his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. He suffered in the year 304. He was married before he was ordained bishop; but lived continent from that time, as the laws of the church required.


The martyrs most perfectly accomplished the precept of renouncing all things for Christ; but all who desire truly to become his disciples, are bound to do it in spirit. Many aspire to perfection by austere practices of exterior mortification and long exercises of devotion; yet make little progress, and, after many years, remain always subject to many imperfections and errors in a spiritual life. The reason is, because they neglected to lay the foundation by renouncing themselves. This requires constant watchfulness, courageous self-denial, a perfect spirit of humility, meekness and obedience, and sincere compunction, in which a soul examines and detects her vices, bewails her past sins and those of the whole world, sighs at the consideration of its vanity and slavery, and of her distance from heaven, labours daily to cleanse her mind from all idle thoughts, and her heart from all sin, all irregular attachments, and superfluous desires, flies the vain joys of the world, and often entertains herself on the bloody passion of Christ. If the affections are thus purified, and this cleanness of heart daily more and more cultivated, the rest costs very little, and the soul makes quick progress in the paths of holy love, by the assiduous exercises of contemplation and prayer, a constant fidelity in all her actions, and the most fervent and pure attention to the divine will and presence. Voluntary imperfections and failings, especially if habitual, both blind and defile the soul, disquiet her, extremely weaken her, and damp the fervour of her good desires and resolutions. They must therefore be retrenched with the utmost resolution and vigilance, especially those which arise from any secret vanity, sensuality, or want of the most perfect sincerity, candour, and simplicity. An habitual attachment to any failing, how trifling soever it may appear, how subtle and secret soever it may be, and under whatever pretences it may be disguised, exceedingly obstructs the operations of the Holy Ghost, and the effusion of divine grace in a soul.

Note 1. Meaning the Boswethe, which runs through Sirmisch, and falls into the sea five leagues lower. 

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


Irenaeus of Sirmium BM (RM)

Died 304; feast day formerly March 25 (due to an error in the Roman Martyrology) and originally on April 6, the date of his death. Saint Irenaeus, bishop of the capital of Pannonia, suffered martyrdom under Diocletian at Sirmium (Mitrovica) in Serbia near Budapest. His acta are authentic and most touching. These relate that Irenaeus was a handsome young bishop, who was arrested and tried before Governor Probus of Pannonia. When the governor informed him of his civic obligation to sacrifice to the gods, Irenaeus answered: "The law of my God commands me rather to suffer all torments than to sacrifice to the gods." When threatened with torture, Irenaeus responds, "You cannot do me a greater pleasure; for by that means you will make me partake of the sufferings of my Savior. When prodded on the rack, Irenaeus says, "I sacrifice to my God, by confessing his holy name, and so have I always sacrificed to him."

The torture was all the greater because Irenaeus' entire family was gathered round him, expressing great concern for his well-being. His children embraced his feet, crying out: "Father, dear father, have pity on yourself and on us." His weeping wife threw herself about his neck, tenderly embraced him, and begged him to save himself for her sake, his innocent children, and the pledges of their mutual love. His sobbing mother sighed and cried, together with their servants, neighbors, and friends. Difficult as it was, Irenaeus recalled our Savior's words, "If anyone renounce me before men, I will renounce him before the Father who is in Heaven."

The governor tried to use his family to tempt him to sacrifice out of compassion for the many who mourned his fate. Unmoved, Irenaeus was sent to prison, where he was repeatedly tormented. During his second hearing, the governor asked if he had living relatives. Irenaeus answered, no. Probus then questioned, "Who then were those that wept for you at your first examination?" Irenaeus replied from Scripture: "Our Lord Jesus Christ hath said: 'He that loves father or mother, wife or children, brothers or relations more than me is not worthy of me.' So, when I lift up my eyes to contemplate that God whom I adore and the joys he hath promised to those who faithfully serve him, I forget that I am a father, a husband, a son, a master, a friend."

Probus said: "But you do not therefore cease to be so. Sacrifice at least for their sakes."

Irenaeus replied: "My children will not lose much by my death; for I leave them for Father that same God whom they adore with me; so let nothing hinder you from executing the orders of your emperor upon me."

Probus: "Don't throw yourself away. I cannot avoid condemning you."

Irenaeus: "You cannot do me a greater favor, or give me a more agreeable pleasure."

Probus then sentenced him: "I order that Irenaeus, for disobeying the emperor's commands, be cast into the river."

Irenaeus replied: "After so many threats, I expected something extraordinary, and you content yourself with drowning me. How comes this? You do me an injury; for you deprive me of the means of showing the world how much Christians, who have a lively faith, despise death, though attended with the most cruel torments." The enraged Probus added that he should be beheaded first. Irenaeus returned thanks to God as for a second victory.

His last words were: "Lord Jesus Christ, who deigned to suffer for the world's salvation, let Your heavens open that Your angels may take up the soul of Your servant Irenaeus, who suffers all this for Your name and for the people formed of your Catholic Church of Sirmium. I ask and implore Your mercy to receive me and to strengthen them in Your faith." Thereafter, he was taken to the bridge of Diana, stripped, beheaded, and thrown into the river (Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).