1. Of ANTIOCH, one of the most eminent ecclesiastics and biblical scholars in the early Church.
He was born, like his illustrious namesake, the satirist, at Samosata, on the Euphrates: he was of respectable parents, by whom he was early trained up in religious principles and habits. They died, however, when he was only twelve years old; and the orphan lad, having distributed his property to the poor, removed to Edessa, where he was baptized, and devoted himself to ascetic practices, becoming the intimate friend, and apparently the pupil of Macarius, a Christian of that town, known principally as an expounder of the Scriptures. Lucian, having determined to embrace an ecclesiastical life, became a presbyter at Antioch, and established in that city a theological school, which was resorted to by many students from all parts, and which exercised a considerable influence on the religious opinions of the subsequent generation. What were the religious opinions of Lucian himself it is difficult exactly to determine. They were such as to expose him to the charge of heterodoxy, and to induce three successive bishops of Antioch to excommunicate him, or else to induce him to withdraw with his followers from communion with them.
According to Valesius and Tillemont the three bishops were Domnus, the successor of Paul of Samosata (A. D. 269-273), Timaeus (A. D. 273-280), and Cyrillus (A. D. 280-300) ; and Tillemont dates his separation from A. D. 269, and thinks it continued ten or twelve years.
The testimony of Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria (apud Theodoret, H. E.
1.4), who was partly contemporary with Lucian, makes the fact of this separation indisputable.
He states that Lucian remained out of communion with the church for many years; and that he was the successor in heresy of Paul of Samosata, and the precursor of Arins. Arins himself, in a letter to Eusebius of Nicomedeia (apud Theodoret, H. E.
1.5), addresses his friend as συλλουκιανιστα
"fellow-Lucianist," which may be considered as intimating that Lucian held opinions similar to his own; though, as Arius would, in his circumstances, be slow to take to himself a sectarian designation, we are disposed to interpret the expression as a memorial that they had been fellow-students in the school of Lucian. Epiphanius, who devotes a section of his principal work (Panarium; Haeres.
43, s. ut alii, 23) to refute the heresies of the Lucianists, says that Lucian was originally a follower of Marcion, but that he separated from him and formed a sect of his own, agreeing, however, in its general principles, with that of the Marcionites. Like Marcion, the Lucianists conceived of the Demiurgos or Creator, as distinct from the perfect God, ὁ ἀγαθός
"the good one ;" and described the Creator, who was also represented as the judge, as ὁ δίκαιος
"the just one." Beside these two beings, between whom the commonly received attributes and offices of God were divided, the Lucianists reckoned a third, ὁ πονηεὸς
, " the evil one." Like the Marcionites, they condemned marriage: Epiphanius says that this was out of hatred to the Demiurgos or Creator, whose dominion was extended by the propagation of the human race.
This description of the sect is to be received with very great caution, for Epiphanius acknowledges that it had been long extinct, and that his inquiries had led to no clear or certain information respecting it.
The gnostic character of the doctrines ascribed to it receives no countenance from the statements of Alexander of Alexandria, and is probably altogether without foundation: the views of Lucian appear to have had more affinity with those of the Arians; and it is observable that Eusebius of Nicomedeia, Leontius of Antioch, and other prelates of the Arian or Semi-Arian parties, and possibly (as already intimated) Arius himself, had been his pupils.
But whatever may have been the heterodoxy of Lucian, he either abjured it or explained it so as to be restored to the communion of the Church, in which he continued until his martyrdom, the glory of which was regarded as sufficient to wipe off all the reproach of his former heresy; and "Lucian the martyr" had the unusual distinction of being referred to by orthodox and heterodox with equal reverence.
It was probably on his reunion with the Church that he gave in the confession of his faith, which is mentioned by Sozomen (H. E.
3.5), and given at length by Socrates (H. E.
It was promulgated by the Eusebian or Semi-Arian Synod of Antioch (A. D. 341), the members of which announced that they had found it in the hand-writing of Lucian himself. Sozomen expresses his doubt of the genuineness of the document; and the caution with which it is worded, for the most part in scriptural terms, so suited to the purpose of the synod, which desired to substitute for the Nicene confession a creed which moderate men of both parties might embrace, renders the suspicion of Sozomen not unreasonable.
The genuineness of the creed is, however, maintained by Bishop Bull (Defensio Fid. Nicaen.
2.13.4-8), by powerful arguments, and is indeed generally admitted; but the controversy as to its orthodoxy has not been decided even in modern times; for although trinitarian writers for the most part affirm that it is orthodox, Petavius and Huetius, with the Arian Sandius, impute to it an Arian character.
It was strenuously upheld by the Arians of the fourth century, especially as it did not contain the obnoxious term "ὁμοούσιος
." Supposing it to be genuine, its ambiguity probably arose from the desire of Lucian not to compromise his own real sentiments, yet to express them in terms of so orthodox an appearance as to satisfy the rulers of the Church, into which he sought to be readmitted.
After his reunion with the Church, Lucian appears to have recovered or increased his reputation both for learning and sanctity.
He was especially eminent for his charity to the poor. His eminence marked him out as a victim in the persecution under Diocletian and his successors.
He fled from Antioch and concealed himself in the country; but, near the close of the year 311, he was apprehended at Antioch, by order, according to Eusebius and Jerome, of the emperor Maximin (Daza , but according to the author of his Acta,
under Maximian (Galerius).
The slight difference of the names Maximin and Maximian easily accounts for the difference of these statements: if he was martyred under Maximian we must place his apprehension at least a year earlier than the date just given.
He was conveyed by land across Asia Minor to Nicomedeia in Bithynia, where, after suffering the greatest tortures, which could only extort from him the answer, "I am a Christian" (Chrysost. Homilia in S. Lucianum, Opera,
vol. i. ed. Morel., vol. v. ed. Savil., vol. ii. ed. Benedict), he was remanded to prison.
He died the day after the feast of the Epiphany, A. D. 312, most probably from the effects of the tortures already inflicted, and especially by starvation, having been fourteen days without food, for he would not taste of that which was placed before him, as it had been offered to idols. His body was cast into the sea, and having been washed ashore near the decayed town, or the ruins of Drepanum, was buried there. Constantine the Great afterwards rebuilt the town in honour of the holy martyr, and gave to it, from his mother, by whom he was probably influenced, the name of Helenopolis.
The statement of the Alexandrian
or Paschal Chronicle,
that he was burnt to death, is utterly inconsistent with other more trustworthy statements.
The works of Lucian comprehended, according to Jerome (De Viris Illustr.
100.77), two small works, "libelli," on the Christian faith, and some short letters to various individuals.
The two works "on the faith" (De Fide
) were, perhaps, the creed already noticed as discovered and published by the synod of Antioch, and the speech (Oratio
) made by him before the emperor, which is preserved by Rufinus (H. E.
9.6). If this defence was spoken, it must have been at another examination than that described by Chrysostom. Of the letters of Lucian we have no remains, except a fragment in the Alexandrian Chronicle
(p. 277, ed. Paris; p. 221, ed. Venice; vol. i. p. 516, ed. Bonn).
But the most important of Lucian's literary labours was his revision of the text of the Septuagint. Some (Ceillier, Auteurs Sacrés,
vol.iv. p. 47, and Neander, Church Hist.
by Rose, vol. ii. note ad fin.) have thought that he revised the text of the N. T.: but although some expressions used by Jerome (Praef. ad Evangelia
) give countenance to their opinion, we believe the revision was limited to the Septuagint.
The author of the Acta S. Luciani
says he was moved to undertake his revision by observing the corruption of the sacred books; but his subsequent statement that the revision was guided by a comparison of the Hebrew text, limits the expression "sacred books" to the O. T.
The copies of the edition of Lucian, though unfavourably characterised by Jerome (l.c.
), are described by him elsewhere (Apolog. contra Rufin.
2.27) as commonly used in the churches from Constantinople to Antioch. They were known as "exemplaria Lucianea." (Hieron. De Viris Illustr.
In the Synopsis S. Scripturae,
printed with the works of Athanasius (100.77), is a curious account of the discovery of Lucian's autograph copy of his revision at Nicomedeia.
Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 8.13
; Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, Rufinus, ll. cc.;
Philostorg. H. E.
2.12-15; Synopsis S. Scriptfurae,
Athanas. adscripta, l.c.; Dial. III. de Sancta Trinitate,
Athanas. adscripta, 100.1; Epiphanius, l.c.;
Hieronym. ll. cc.; Chron. Paschale,
pp. 277, 279, 283, ed. Paris, 221, 223, 226, ed. Venice, vol. i. pp. 516,519, 520, 527, ed. Bonn; Acta S. Luciani Presbyt. Martyris,
Gr. apud Sym. Metaphr.; Latinè apud Lipomannum, Surium, et Bolland. Acta Sanctor.
vol. i. p. 357, &c.; Suidas (who transcribes Metaphrastes), s. vv. Λουκιανός
; Tillemont, Mémoires,
vol. v. p. 474, &c.; Ceillier, l.c.
; Cave, Hist. Litt.
ad ann. 294; Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. iii. p. 715; Hody, De Textib. Original.
lib. iii. p. 1.5.4, 5, lib. 4.3.1.