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Saint Lucian


This Lucian was born at Samosata in the third century, but is surnamed of Antioch, from the city where he spent most of his life. His Christian parents taught him to love God to such good effect that at their death, in his youth, he distributed his considerable inheritance to the poor, and gave himself to the study of the holy Scriptures under an ascetic of Edessa by the name of Marcarius. He also became very learned in the literature of the Gentile world. When a man of mature years, he was ordained priest at Antioch, and was there recognized as one of the foremost Biblical scholars of his age, and made head of the theological school.

His greatest achievement in letters was a revision of the Greek Scriptures. Whether he revised the Septuagint by comparing its different versions, or by a return to the Hebrew original, is not certain; but his careful and laborious work was widely esteemed throughout the Church, and after his death was strongly commended by scholars of the eminence of the holy Doctor Jerome. It is supposed that he was for a space deceived by that great dissembler, Paul of Samosata; for Bishop Saint Alexander of Alexandria afterwards made the charge that Lucian for some years remained outside the Communion of the Church. If so, he recanted, and was reconciled, because it was as a Catholic Christian that he was apprehended, and for a long time kept in prison. At his trial he made an excellent apology for the Faith, which the historian Eusebius hath preserved. Whereupon he was remanded to prison and given no food for a fortnight. When almost dead from hunger, he was provided with food which had been offered in sacrifice to idols; which same he refused, lest he be a stumbling block to his weaker brethren. He was then tried by other tortures, such as the rack, and a bed of sharp points.

When he was cross-examined, he gave but one reply. If they said: Of what country art thou? or: What is thy calling? or to whatsoever they asked, he answered: I am a Christian. And during his long imprisonments whilst chained to the floor, so that he was obliged to lie prone on his back, he celebrated the divine mysteries using his own breast for an altar, and so communicated the faithful present. He consummated his martyrdom at Nicomedia in 312, whether by starvation or by the sword is not certainly known. It is the tradition in Arles that Charlemagne named a church in honour of this Martyr, and brought thither his relicks and there enshrined them.


GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we, who this day keep the heavenly birthday of blessed Lucian, thy holy Martyr, may by his prayers be stablished in the love of thy holy Name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1837-1838; 1630

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

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