St. Irenaeus on Unity

St. Irenaeus was the erudite Orthodox bishop of what is now Lyons, France, and a great defender of Christianity against the gnostic heresies that sprung up in his lifetime.  Not only did his words and thoughts contradict the gnostics of his day, but they also provide a wonderful preserved image of the Church in its first centuries.  Was it divided into denominations and scattered around the world?  No.  Was it a loose collective of people who just followed one or two main tenets of this faith and differed in baptismal, sacramental, or liturgical ways from each other?  Remember, these churches were spread out over untold miles, without steady and reliable forms of instant communication... But read what St. Irenaeus says about The Church...

"The Church, having received this teaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it.  She also believes these points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth.  For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is the same.  For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Lybia, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world."  - (Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus)

Isn't that incredible?  =)

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Rantlings! =)