Lucian of Antioch, St.
LUCIAN OF ANTIOCH, ST.
Martyr, theologian, founder of the school of Antioch; b. probably in Antioch, c. 240; d. Nicomedia, Jan. 7, 312. Suidas said Lucian was born at Samosata of devout parents and studied under Macarius at nearby Edessa. At Antioch Lucian became involved with the Patriarch paul of samosata and shared his condemnation (269) for holding that Christ was a mere man. As head of a schismatic group, Lucian remained excommunicated during the episcopates of Paul's three successors at Antioch. He made his submission c. 285, was received back into communion, and remained orthodox until his martyrdom.
Few men have had so strong an influence on the history of Christianity. Lucian used his linguistic skill to correct the Septuagint and Gospel texts; and his recension became the common one. He also developed a literal–historical method of exegesis characteristic of the School of Antioch, which he founded (c. 260). He held that each passage of Scripture has a literal sense, either proper or metaphorical, and he found the true sense of scriptural metaphor and parables by considering the special features of Hebrew and Greek literature, by comparing similar Biblical passages, and by grammatical and historical examination. He also allowed a typical meaning based on the literal sense and expressing the relationships between OT and NT. His method opposed the allegorizing practice of the Alexandrian School; but in stressing the importance of the letter, his school sometimes neglected the spirit, that is, the divine element in Scripture. Nonetheless, it later produced such exegetes as diodore of tarsus and john chrysostom.
Lucian's influence in theology was less fortunate. He is called Father of Arianism because arius and almost all the fourth-century Arian theologians were his students. Calling themselves Lucianists and Collucianists, they developed his adoptionist and subordinationist tendencies into a full heresy. Lucian's moral life was blameless, however, and he was revered as saint and martyr by Arian and orthodox alike. Both John Chrysostom and eusebius provide firm evidence of his cult, confirmed by numerous church dedications.
Feast: Jan. 7 (West); Oct. 15 (East).
Bibliography: j. quasten, Patrology (Westminster, Maryland 1950) 2:142–144. Acta Sanctorum Jan. 1:357–64. g. bardy, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 1903-50) 9.1:1024–31; Recherches sur s. Lucien d'Antioche et son école (Paris 1936); "Le Discours Apologétique de s. Lucien d'Antioche (Rufinus Hist. eccl., IX.6)," Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 22 (1926) 487–512. c. lattey, "The Antiochene Text," Scripture 4 (1951) 273–277. philostorgius, Kirchengeschichte: Mit dem Leben des Lucian von Antiochien und den Fragmenten eines arianischen Historiographen, ed. j. bidez (Berlin 1981). g. zuntz, Lukian von Antiochien und der Text der Evangelien, ed. b. aland and k. wachtel (Heidelberg 1995).
[p. w. harkins]