IRENAEUS, CHRISTOPH: Follower of Matthias Flacius (q.v.); b. at Schweidnitz (31 m. s.w. of Breslau), Silesia, c. 1522; d, probably at Buchenbach (between Hall and Rothenburg-on-the-Tauber), Württemberg, c. 1595. From May, 1544, he studied at Wittenberg, where he was enrolled as Christofferus Harem. After being rector of schools at Bernburg (1545-47) and Aschersleben, he became M. A. at Wittenberg, Feb. 14, 1549. Late in 1552 he became deacon and was ordained by Bugenhagen. In 1559 he became archdeacon, and began his very extensive activity as theological author about this time. In the spring of 1582 he was called as pastor to Eisleben. Here, as a strict Lutheran, he was highly esteemed by the counts of Mansfeld and the congregation, and became acquainted with the followers of Flacius. In 1566 John William of Saxony called him to be court preacher, first in Coburg, then in Weimar. Irenäus utilized this appointment to obtain positions for the Flacians at the university, in the Church, and in the chancery, and advocated the doctrine of Flacius at the Altenburg Colloquy, Oct. 21, 1568-Mar. 9, 1569. Mörlin, Chemnitz, and Jakob Andrew tried in vain to win him from Flacius. When the Evangelical princes complained of the Flacians in 1570, Irenäus was transferred as superintendent to Neustadt-on-the-Orla, but persisted in his usual way, and when menaced with an investigation, escaped to Mansfield in 1572. His old friends did not stand by him, and Archbishop Sigismund of Magdeburg now intervened. Irenäus eluded his soldiers, Dec. 31, 1574, and thenceforth traversed Germany as an "exile for Christ." Though seven times banished before 1590, he continued striving with unbroken courage, and above all opposed the Formula of Concord, its authors, subscribers, and defenders. In 1575 he was expelled from his native town, whereupon he sojourned in Hesse and along the Lower Rhine. In 1579 he was at Frankfort, and finally found refuge with Eberhard of Stetten at Buchenbach. Count Wolfgang of Hohenlohe constrained him to a colloquy with Andreä, at Langenburg, Aug. 8, 1581, and then insisted upon his withdrawal from Buchenbach. At the close of 1582, he obtained a call to the Lower Austrian Church at Horn, but on Aug. 12, 1585, the Flacians one and all were notified of their discharge. Irenäus returned to Buchenbach, and occupied himself with literary work. He was a noble, talented, and learned man, but a classic example of the rabies theologorum which converts a single article of Christian faith into a central dogma, as he did with the doctrine of Flacius on original sin. His best strength was spent in vituperation and railing, and, in his inequity of judgment he was even carried into falsehood, so that his best book, Der Spiegel des ewigen Lebens (1572), loses thereby in value.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Raupach, Evangelisches Oesterreich, nebst Presbyterologia Austriaca, pp 69-73, and Nachtrag, Zwiefache Zugabe, p. 43, 3 vols., Hamburg, 1741-44 (the best biography, containing also a useful bibliography); J. G. Leuckfeld, Hist. Spangengbergensis, pp. 37-38, Quedlinburg, 1716; W . Preger, Matthias Flacius Illyricus und seine Zeit, 2 vols., Erlangen, 1859-61; ZHT, xix (1850), 3 sqq., 218 sqq.; ADB, xiv. 582.
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