Lu'cius (Λούκιος, for Latin Lucius, a common Raman name), surnamed the CYRENIAN (ὁ Κυρηναῖος, "of Cyrene"), thus distinguished by the name of his city-the capital of a Greek colony in Northern Africa, and remarkable for the number of its Jewish inhabitants-is first mentioned in the N.T. in company with Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Manaen, and Saul, who are described as prophets and teachers of the Church at Antioch (Ac 13:1). A.D. 44. These honored disciples having, while engaged in the office of common worship, received commandment from the Holy Ghost to set apart Barnabas and Saul for the special service of God, proceeded, after fasting and prayer, to lay their hands upon them. This the first recorded instance of a formal ordination to the office of evangelist, but it cannot be supposed that so solemn a commission would have been given to any but such as had themselves been ordained to the ministry of the Word, and we may therefore assume that Lucius and his companions were already of that number. Whether Lucius was one of the seventy disciples, as stated by Pseudo-Hippolyts, is quite a matter of conjecture, but it is highly probable that he formed one of the congregation to whom Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:10); and there can hardly be a doubt that he was one of "the men of Cyrene" who, being "scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen," went to Antioch preaching the Lord Jesus (Ac 11:19-20).
In the Apostolical Constitutions, 7:46, it is stated that Paul consecrated Lucius bishop of Cenchree, which is probably a mere inference from the supposition that the epistle to the Romans was written from that Corinthian port. Different traditions make Lucius the first bishop of Cyrene and of Laodicea, in Syria. — Smith, s.v.
It is commonly supposed that Lucius is the kinsman of Paul mentioned by that apostle as joining with him in his salutation to the Roman brethren (Ro 16:21). A.D. 55. There is, however, no sufficient reason for regarding him as identical with Luke the Evangelist, though this opinion was apparently held by Origen (ad loc.), and is supported by Calmet, as well as by Wetstein, who adduces in confirmation of it the fact reported by Herodotus (3:121), that the Cyrenians had throughout Greece a high reputation as physicians. But it must be observed that the names are clearly distinct. The missionary companion of Paul was not Lucius, but Lucas or Lucanus, "the beloved physician," who, though named in three different epistles (Col 4:14; 2Ti 4:11; Phm 1:24), is never referred to as a relation. Again, it is hardly probable that Luke, who suppresses his own name as the companion of Paul, would have mentioned himself as one among the more distinguished prophets and teachers at Antioch. Olshausen, indeed, asserts confidently that the notion of Luke and Lucius being the same person has nothing whatever to support it (Clark's Theol. Lib. 4:513). SEE LUKE.