Saint Irene was the wife of the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenos (1118-1143). She was very pious, and unequaled in her philanthropic works. Instead of spending her money on jewelry, cosmetics, or other worldly vanities, St Irene used her wealth to care for the poor and the sick. One of her greatest projects was the building of the royal monastery of the Pantocrator in Constantinople, the largest, most beautiful of all the City's monasteries.

The Church of Christ has numbered her among the saints because of her piety, philanthropy, as well as for her determination to live her life according to the Gospel, and her patronage of this monastery.

Toward the end of her life, St Irene was tonsured as a nun with the name Xenia. She died in Bithynia in 1124, but she and her husband were buried in the monastery she had founded.