Saint Lucian of Antioch, Martyr

January 7

Today is the feast day of Saint Lucian.  Ora pro nobis.

Saint Lucian was born at Samosata in Syria. Having lost his parents in his youth, he distributed to the poor all his worldly goods, of which he had inherited an abundant share, and withdrew to Edessa, to live near a holy man named Macarius, who imbued his mind with a knowledge of Holy Scripture and led him to the practice of the Christian virtues.

Very little is known about the life of Lucian, though few men have left such a deep print on the history of Christianity. The opposition to the allegorizing tendencies of the Alexandrines centred in him. He rejected this system entirely and propounded a system of literal interpretation which dominated the Eastern Church for a long period. In the field of theology, in the minds of practically all writers (the most notable modern exception being Gwatkin, in his “Studies of Arianism”, London, 1900), he has the unenviable reputation of being the real author of the opinions which afterwards found expression in the heresy of Arius.

Saint Lucian revised the books of the Old and New Testaments, expunging the errors which had found their way into the text either through the negligence of copyists or the malice of heretics. His translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek was universally esteemed and was very useful to Saint Jerome, for whom he prepared the way. Soon afterwards the latter was to give to the world the Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate.

Despite his heterodoxy, Lucian was a man of the most unexceptionable virtue (Eusebius, H. E., VIII, xiii, 2); at the height of the Arian controversy his fame for sanctity was not less than his reputation as a scholar. During the persecution of Maximinus Daza he was arrested at Antioch and sent to Nicomedia, where he endured many tortures and, after delivering a long oration in defence of his faith.  A group of Christians visited him in prison on the feast of the Epiphany, and brought bread and wine to him; while bound and chained down on his back, he consecrated the divine mysteries upon his own breast, that the faithful who were present might receive Holy Communion. He finished his glorious career in prison, and died with the words, I am a Christian, on his lips.

Image: Saint Lucian of Antioch, circa 985. (5)

Research by REGINA Staff


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