Lucian ST., presbyter of Antioch, and a martyr, is said by some to have been born at Samosata, in the Syrian province of Commagene, about the middle of the 3d century. His parents died while he was yet a boy, and, left to depend upon his own resources, the twelve-year old lad removed to Edessa, where he was baptized, and became a pupil of Macarius, an eminent Biblical schelar. He entered the ministry as a presbyter at Antioch, and finally assumed the lead of a theological school, which he himself founded. He became greatly celebrated both as an ecclesiastic and as a Biblical scholar, and was an ornament of the Christian Church when suddenly cut down by martyrdom, which he suffered A.D. 312, by order of Maximin, during the reign of Diocletian. He was drowned, and was buried at Helenopolis, in Bithynia. Lucian is frequently mentioned by ecclesiastical writers not only as a man of great learning, but also as noted for his piety. Eusebius calls him a "person of unblemished character throughout his whole life" (Hist. Eccl. 8:13); and Chrysostom, on the anniversary of Lucian's martyrdom, pronounced a panegyric upon him which is still extant. Jerome informs us, in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers (c. 77), that "Lucian was so laborious in the study of the sacred writings that in his own time some copies of the Scriptures were known by the name of Lucian;" and we learn from another part of his works (Praef. in Paralip. 1:1023) that Lucian's revision of the Septuagint version of the Old Test. was generally used in the churches, from Constantinople to Antioch. Lucian also made a revision of the New Testament, which Jerome considered inferior to his edition of the Septuagint. There were extant in Jerome's time some treatises of Lucian concerning faith, and also some short epistles; but none of these have come down to us, with the exception of a few fragments.
There has been considerable dispute among critics respecting Lucian's belief in the Trinity. From the manner in which he is spoken of by most of the Trinitarian fathers, and from the absence of any censure upon his orthodoxy by Jerome and Athanasius, it has been maintained that he must have been a believer in the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity; but, on the other hand, Epiphanius, in his Anchoret (35, volume 2, page 40, D), speaks of the Lucianists and Arians as one sect; and Philostorgius (who lived about 425, and wrote an account of the Arian controversy, of which considerable extracts are preserved by Photius) expressly says that Eusebius of Nicomedia, and many of the principal Arians of the 4th century, were disciples of Lucian; yet this does not prove that their Arian principles were derived from Lucian's teachings. It is nevertheless probable that Lucian's opinions were not quite orthodox, since he is said, by his contemporary Alexander (in Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. 1, c. 4, page 15, B), to have been excluded from the Roman Catholic Church by three bishops in succession, for advocating the doctrines of Paul of Samosata. Indeed, it was from Lucian's school at Antioch that the great teacher of Arianisnm (q.v.), Arius of Alexandria, came. According to Epiphanius, Lucian was originally a follower of Marcion, but finally formed a sect of his own, known as Lucianists, agreeing, however, in the main with the Marcionites (q.v.). Like the latter, 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." Besides these two beings, between whom the commonly received attributes and offices of God were divided, the Lucianists reckoned a third, ὁ πονηρός, "the evil one." Together with the Marcionites, they condemned marriage, and, according to some, though rather questionable authorities, they even denied the immortality of the soul, asserting it to be material, and to be followed by an entirely new substance (tertium quiddam). SEE GNOSTICISM. Lucian himself, however, repented of his heresy, and returned to the Roman Catholic communion before his death. It was probably on the occasion of his return to the orthodox fold that he gave to the Church his Confession of Faith, which is mentioned by Sozomen (Hist. Eccles. 3:5), and given at length by Socrates (Hist. Eccles. 2:10), and which was promulgated by the semi- Arian or Eusebian Synod of Antioch, A.D. 341 (compare Smith, Dict. of Gk. and Rom. Biog. 2:81 1. col. 1; Bull, Def. Fid. Niccen. 2:13, § 4-8). SEE LUCANUS.
There have been three other persons of the name of Lucian connected with the history of the Church: one suffered martyrdom in 250; the second was the first bishop of Beauvais; and the third wrote, about 415, a letter on the whereabouts of the body of St. Stephen. See, besides the authorities already quoted, Tillemont, Memoires, 5:474; Ceillier, Hist. des Aut. Sac. l.c.; Cave, Hist. litt. Ad. ann. 294; Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, 3:715 sq. Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 8:504 sq.; English Cyclopaedia, s.v.