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Saint-Irénée Church, Lyon

Saint-Irénée Church, Lyon

Saint Irénée Church is a very simple building, but it has a long and interesting history and is well worth a visit.

The first church was dedicated to Saint John in the 1st century AD. Irenaeus was born in Asia Minor and became a priest under the first bishop of Lyon. When the bishop, St Pothius, was martyred during an uprising in the city, Irenaeus became bishop in his place.

He was a pious, scholarly man, writing against the Gnostics (an early Christian sect) and arguing about the date of Easter. He died in 202 AD and was buried in St John’s Church. Some Christian scholars say that St Irénée was martyred, but there is no proof of this.

The church was rebuilt in the 10th century with a crypt for St Irénée. The church was renamed at that time. The church and the crypt were destroyed by Protestants during the War of Religion in 1562. The high part of the building was restored in 1584 and the crypt in 1635.

Outside the church you will see the only remaining “Calvary” in a French city. The three crosses, bearing Christ and the two thieves, with the statues of three women at the foot of the cross were created in 1687.

During the French Revolution the church was used as a grain store. It and the crypt were renovated in 1863. Three Roman tombs were uncovered during archaeological digs in 2000 near the church and have been placed in the crypt.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Lyon, France within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Saint-Irénée Church on Map

Sight Name: Saint-Irénée Church
Sight Location: Lyon, France
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Lyon, France

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Self-Guided Religious Buildings Tour of Lyon, Part 2

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles

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