Martyrdom washes clean

Lucian, the bible scholar …

a man of great talent, presbyter of the church at Antioch, was so diligent in the study of the Scriptures, that even now certain copies of the Scriptures bear the name of Lucian.

Though his study wasn’t universally admired …

This (New Testament) certainly differs in our language (Latin), and is led in the way of different streams; it is necessary to seek the single fountainhead. I pass over those books which are called by the name of Lucian and Hesychius, for which a few men wrongly claim authority

Lucian the Martyr, taken in the last persecution of the Church …

Lucian, a presbyter of the parish at Antioch, and a most excellent man in every respect, temperate in life and famed for his learning in sacred things, was brought to the city of Nicomedia, where at that time the emperor happened to be staying, and after delivering before the ruler an apology for the doctrine which he professed, was committed to prison and put to death.

His death was mused on, that he died by the furnace or in a bed, where chains and stripes forbade him even to move or that torturers exposed this saint to starvation. Christians were exorted to dwell on …

the story of his contests, to marvel at what happened, to strive to imitate his virtue, to convey to others his brave deeds

And Constantine’s mother did …

Helen, the mother of the emperor, built the city which was called Helenopolis at the entrance of the Gulf of Nicomedia: … the reason of her great predilection for the spot, was because the body of the martyr Lucian was carried thither by a dolphin after his death by martyrdom.

Did she think of …

to each question he replied only: I am a Christian. And when the executioner said: What country are you from?, said: I am a Christian. What’s your occupation? I am a Christian. Who are you parents? To everything he said: I am a Christian. … For the person who says I am a Christian has revealed both their country and family history and occupation.

But what was a Christian? Isn’t this the same Lucian who inspired …

teaching at variance with the religion of the Church, … (who) withdrew himself from communion with these bishops during a period of many years … (who inspired) Arius and Achillas, and all their gang of rogues.

The Arians. Those heretics who claimed Christ was less than his Father. And these disciples of this martyr Lucian did invoke him …

I bid thee farewell in the Lord, remembering our afflictions, my fellow-Lucianist, and true Eusebius.

These aliens from our pious doctrine were seen off with a precise formula for Christianity by the great … champion(s) of the truth at Nicea. But they returned …

They stated that they had found [this] (a better) formulary of faith, and that it was entirely written by Lucianus … (that) the formularies of faith … maintained by Lucian, the martyr, and by many of their predecessors, with dangers and tensions, ought to obtain the ascendancy over all others.

And this association made some question the martyr, to question even his most esteemed devotees …

There was one Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch, a Confessor, and sound in the Faith. This man, because he was very zealous for the truth, and hated the Arian heresy, and would not receive those who adopted its tenets, is falsely accused before the Emperor Constantine, and a charge invented against him, that he had insulted his mother

Even to question his martyrdom …

Lucian … the modern one born during Constantine’s old age, whom the Arians, if you please, reckon a martyr.

But Lucian survived the too-and-fro of the fourth century, so that a later Byzantine epitomizer could write …

[Lucian] the martyr … reached the standard of every human excellence … he guarded the purity of the divine doctrines to the greatest degree among his contemporaries.

What doctrines? The correct ones of course! Martyrdom washes away every blemish.

One Response to “Martyrdom washes clean”

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