On 21 January 2022 the Holy Father issued a Decree in which he conferred the title of Doctor of the Church to Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, with the title of “Doctor of Unity”. In the Decree Pope Francis affirmed: “Saint Irenaeus of Lyon, who came from the East, exercised his episcopal ministry in the West: he was a spiritual and theological bridge between Eastern and Western Christians. His name, Irenaeus, expresses that peace which comes from the Lord and which reconciles, restoring unity. For these reasons, having obtained the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, with my Apostolic Authority I
him a Doctor of the Church with the title of Doctor unitatis. May the teaching of this great Master increasingly encourage the journey of all the Lord's disciples towards full communion”.
In the Angelus on Sunday 23 January, Pope Francis spoke of the Decree within the context of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, stating: “I have accepted the proposal which has come from many quarters, and proclaimed Saint Irenaeus of Lyon a Doctor of the Universal Church. The teaching of this saintly pastor and teacher is like a bridge between East and West: this is why we call him a Doctor of Unity, Doctor Unitatis. May the Lord grant us, through his intercession, to work together for the full unity of Christians”.