Martyr Lucian the Presbyter of Antioch

1. The Hieromartyr Lucian, Presbyter of Antioch, was born in the Syrian city of Samosata. At twelve years of age he was left orphaned.

Lucian distributed his possessions to the poor, and went to the city of Edessa to the confessor Macarius, under the guidance of whom he diligently read Holy Scripture and learned the ascetic life. For his pious and zealous spreading of Christianity among the Jews and pagans, Lucian was made a presbyter.

In Antioch Saint Lucian opened a school where many students gathered. He taught them how to understand the Holy Scriptures, and how to live a virtuous life. Saint Lucian occupied himself with teaching, and he corrected the Greek text of the Septuagint, which had been corrupted in many places by copyists and by heretics who deliberately distorted it in order to support their false teachings.

The entire Greek text of the Bible which he corrected was hidden in a wall at the time of his confession of Christ, and it was found during the lifetime of Saint Constantine the Great.

During the persecution of Diocletian, Saint Lucian was arrested and was sent to prison in Nicomedia, where for nine years he encouraged other Christians with him to remain steadfast in their confession of Christ, urging them not to fear tortures or death.

Saint Lucian died in prison from many terrible tortures and from hunger. Before his death, he wished to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ on the Feast of Theophany. Certain Christians who visited him brought bread and wine for the Eucharist.

The hieromartyr, bound by chains and lying on a bed of sharp potsherds, was compelled to offer the Bloodless Sacrifice upon his chest, and all the Christians there in prison received Communion.

The next day the emperor sent people to see if the saint was still alive. Saint Lucian said three times, “I am a Christian,” then surrendered his soul to God. The body of the holy martyr was thrown into the sea, but after thirty days dolphins brought it to shore. Believers reverently buried the body of the much-suffering Saint Lucian.

Saint Lucian was originally commemorated on January 7, the day of his death. Later, when the celebration of the Synaxis of Saint John the Baptist was appointed for this day, the feast of Saint Lucian was transferred to October 15.

The October date may be associated with the dedication of a church which was built in Antioch by Saint Helen (May 21) over Saint Lucian’s holy relics.

Although he was only a priest, sometimes Saint Lucian is depicted in the vestments of a bishop. The Stroganov Guide for Iconographers was published in Russia in 1869, based on a 1606 manuscript. There Saint Lucian is depicted wearing a phelonion and holding a Gospel.

He does not wear the omophorion of a bishop, however. Another handbook, the Litsevoy Podlinnik, states that Saint Lucian is to be depicted with the omophorion.

It may be that the Russians thought of Saint Lucian as a bishop because of his importance to the Church, and so that is how they depicted him. Similarly, Saint Charalampus (February 10) is depicted as a priest in Greek icons, and as a bishop in Russian icons.

2. Today the Church remembers the 350 holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council under the holy Patriarch Tarasius (February 25).

The Synod of 787, the second to meet at Nicea, refuted the Iconoclast heresy during the reign of Empress Irene and her son Constantine VI.

The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry (Exodus 20:4-5), because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype (the person depicted).

It also upheld the possibility of depicting Christ, Who became man and took flesh at His Incarnation. The Father, on the other hand, cannot be represented in His eternal nature, because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).

Tr by oca.org

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