Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari
Lucifer, Bishop Of Cagliari, in Sardinia, surnamed Calaritanus, a noted character in ecclesiastical history, the founder of an independent sect known as Luciferians, flourished about the middle of the 4th century. At the Council of Milan, held in 354, he appeared as joint legate with Eusebius of Vercelli from pope Liberius, and here he displayed great opposition to the Arian believers. He refused to hold any communion with the clergy who had, during the reign of Constantius, conformed to the Arian doctrines, although it had been determined in a synod at Alexandria, in 352, to receive again into the Church all the Arian clergy who openly acknowledged their errors, and was, in consequence, imprisoned for a time, and finally banished. He took up his residence in Syria, but here also became involved in disputes, and greatly increased the disorders which agitated the Church at Antioch by his ordination of Paulinus as bishop in opposition to Meletius. Disapproved and ignored by his former friends and associates, he retired in disgust to his native island, and there founded an independent sect, whose distinguishing tenet was that no Arian bishop, and no bishop who had in any measure yielded to the Arians, even although he repented and confessed his errors, could enter the bosom of the Church without forfeiting his ecclesiastical rank; and that all bishops and others who admitted the claims of such persons to a full restoration of their privileges became themselves tainted and outcasts — a doctrine which, had it been acknowledged at this period in its full extent, would have had the effect of excommunicating nearly the whole Christian world. Lucifer died during the reign of Valentinian, about A.D. 370.
The number of Luciferians is believed to have been always small; Theodoret says that the sect was extinct in his day (Hist. Eccles. 3, c. 5, page 128, D). Their opinions, however, excited considerable attention at the time when they were first promulgated, and were advocated by several eminent men; among others, by Faustinus, Marcellinus, and Hilarius Diaconus. Jerome wrote a work in refutation of their doctrines, which is still extant. Augustine remarks, in his work on Heresies (c. 81), that the Luciferians held erroneous opinions concerning the human soul, which they considered to be of a carnal nature, and to be transfused from parents to children. Compare the article NOVATIANS SEE NOVATIANS .
Lucifer himself is acknowledged by Jerome and Athanasius to have been well acquainted with the Scriptures, and to have been exemplary in private life, but he appears to have been a man of violent temper and great bigotry. His writings were first published entire by Johannes Tillius, bishop of Meaux (Paris, 1568, 8vo), and were dedicated to pope Pius V: Two Books addressed to the Emperor Constantius in Defense of Athanasius: — On Apostate Kings: — On the Duty of having no Communion with Heretics: — On the Duty of dying for the Son of God: — On the Duty of showing no Mercy to those who sin against God; and a short Epistle to Florentius. The best edition, however, is by the brothers Coleti (Venet. 1778, fol.). See Schonemann, Bibliotheca Patr. Lat. 1, § 8; Neander, Ch. History, 2:396 sq. Moshelm, Eccles. History, book 2, cent. 4, part 2, chapter 3, § 20; Milman, Hist. of Christianity, 2:428 sq., 438,457; Walch, Gesch. d. Ketzereien (Lpz. 1766), 3:388 sq.; Smith, Dict. of Gk. and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. volume 2, s.v. (J.H.W.)