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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Lucianus, Priest of Antioch, Martyr


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Lucianus (12), priest of Antioch, martyr; born at Samosata c. 240, educated at Edessa under a certain Macarius, a learned expounder of Holy Scripture (Suidas, s.v. ). Lucianus went to Antioch, which held a high rank among the schools of the East and was then, owing to the controversies raised by Paulus of Samosata, the great centre of theological interest. There he was probably instructed by Malchion, who seems to have been the true founder of the celebrated Antiochene school of divines, of whom Lucian, Chrysostom, Diodorus, Theodoret, and Theodore of Mopsuestia were afterwards some of the most distinguished. During the controversies after the deposition of Paulus, Lucian seems to have fallen under suspicion. Some have thought that he cherished sentiments akin to those of Paulus himself, which were of a Sabellian character, while others think that in opposing Paulus he used expressions akin to Arianism (cf. Newman's Asians, p. 7, and c. i. § 5). This latter view is supported by the creed presented at the council of Antioch, a.d. 341, and purporting to be drawn up by St. Lucian, which is extremely anti-Sabellian. He was separated from the communion of the three immediate successors of Paulus—Domnus, Timaeus, and Cyrillus. During the episcopate of Cyrillus he was restored, and became with Dorotheus the head of the theological school, giving to it the tone of literal, as opposed to allegorical, exposition of Scripture which it retained till the time of Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia. Lucian produced, possibly with the help of Dorotheus, a revised version of the LXX, which was used, as Jerome tells us, in the churches of Constantinople, Asia Minor, and Antioch, and met with such universal acceptance that it received the name of the Vulgate (Vulgata, Κοινή ), while copies of the LXX in general passed under the title of Lucianea (Westcott, Hist. of Canon, p. 360). He also wrote some doctrinal treatises, and a commentary on Job. See Routh, Reliq. Sacr. v. 3–17.

In the school of Lucian the leaders and supporters of the Arian heresy were trained. Arius himself, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Maris of Chalcedon, Leontius of Antioch, Eudoxius, Theognis of Nicaea, and Asterius appealed to him as their authority (but see ARIUS) and adopted from him the party designation of Collucianists (De Broglie, L᾿Eglise et l᾿Empire, i. 375). Lucian became afterwards more conservative, and during Diocletian's persecution he encouraged the martyrs to suffer courageously, but escaped himself till Theotecnus was appointed governor of Antioch, when he was betrayed by the Sabellian party, seized and forwarded to Nicomedia to the emperor Maximinus, where, after delivering a speech in defence of the faith, he was starved for many days, tempted with meats offered to idols, and finally put to death in prison, Jan. 7, 311 or 312. His body was buried at Drepana in Bithynia, where his relics were visited by Constantine, who freed the city from taxes and changed its name to Helenopolis. A fragment of the apology delivered by the martyr has been preserved by Rufinus and will be found in Routh, l.c. Dr. Westcott, l.c. , accepts it as genuine.

As to whether Lucian the martyr and Biblical critic was the same person as Lucian the excommunicated heretic, Ceillier, Fleury, and De Broglie take one side, Dr. Newman the other. The former contend that neither Eusebius, Jerome, nor Chrysostom mentions his lapse in early life. But their notices are very brief, none of them are professed biographers, and we cannot depend much upon mere negative evidence. On the other hand we have the positive statements of Alexander, bp. of Alexandria (in Theod. H. E. i. 3, and Philostorg. H. E. ii. 14 and 15; see also Epiphan. Ancorat. c. 33), which, together with the fact that the Arian party at Antioch sheltered themselves behind a creed said to have been "written in the hand of Lucian himself, who suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia" (Soz. H. E. iii. 5), outweigh the improbability involved in the silence of the others. He may easily have been 30 years in church communion when he died, and with the 4th cent. Christians a martyrdom like his would more than atone for his early fall.

The creed of Lucian is in Hefele, Hist. of Councils, ii. 77, Clark's ed.; cf. Soz. H. E iii. 5, vi. 12. Bp. Bull maintains its authenticity and orthodoxy ( Def. of Nic. Creed, lib. iv. c. xiii. vi. § 5). Wright's Syriac. Mart. Eus viii. 13, ix. 6; Chrysost. Hom. in Lucian, in Migne, Patr. Gk. t. 1. p. 520; Gieseler, H. E. i. 248; Neander, H. E. ii. 498. Neander gives the numerous references to Lucian in St. Jerome's writings.

[G.T.S.]


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Lucianus, Priest of Antioch, Martyr'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hwd/l/lucianus-priest-of-antioch-martyr.html. 1911.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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