Commemorated on March 26
Ireneius suffered during the time of persecution against Christians under
the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian (284-305).
He was a presbyter,
and together with his wife he raised his children in Christian piety and gained
great respect for his educated mind and strict manner of life.
He was later on made
bishop in the city of Sirmium in Pannonia (modern-day Hungary). Because of his
fervent preaching of faith in Christ he was arrested, and brought before a
city-governor named Probus. Refusing to renounce Christ and offer sacrifice to the
pagan gods, the saint was handed over for torture. Witnessing his torments were
the parents, kinsmen and friends of the saint, who attempted to persuade him to
submit, but the martyr remained steadfast. After cruel tortures, the holy
confessor was for a long time in prison. Probus tried to sway the will of the
martyr, urging him to spare his life for the sake of his sons. But the martyr
replied: "My sons believe in God, Who wilt care for them; for me however,
nothing will compel me to renounce my Christ". The governor gave orders to
throw the saint into a river. They led the martyr on the bridge crossing the
River Sava, where he in kneeling then turned in prayer to the Lord for his
flock the Sirmium Church. After his prayers they beheaded the PriestMartyr
Ireneius, and threw his body into the river.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.