Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Who are we ? Yesterday's Saint of the Day #2 St Lucian of Antioch


January 7th - St. Lucian of Antioch, Martyr

Now much can be said about St Lucian's life...for instance when his parents died he gave away everything he owned and instead devoted his life to study ; but what is intensely more relevant to us is the way he died....

Being at Nicomedia when Diocletian's persecution began, he was arrested in 303
and imprisoned there for nine years; he was twice brought up for examination,
when he defended himself ably and refused to renounce Christ. His Defense of
Christianity, addressed to his executioners, gives indisputable historical
evidence that Lucian underwent martyrdom for the faith:

"It has never been in secret or in some disgraceful way that we adored the unity
of God announced to us in Jesus Christ and whose faith is inspired in us by the
Holy Spirit,"
he wrote.

"He denounces the idols, exalts the beatitudes, invites
Christians to rejoice because of poverty, to preserve their gentleness as well
as to strive for peace."

"Look at how the pagans fear us," he exclaims,

"...that they must lead us before kings and tribunes as bound victims. But let them look
in the history books and they will see the miracles which inevitably follow our
deaths at their hand."

He affirms the universality of redemption, declares that
the voice of the Church leads us to God, and emphasizes his own fidelity.

At his trial he was asked:

"Who are you?"

His reply is a famous one:

"I am a Christian."

"What is your profession?" "I am a Christian."

"What is your name?" "I am a Christian."

"Your origin?" "Christian."

"Your family?" "Christian."

To each question he gives the deservedly famous reply, one more audacious than
any writer could have invented, and which won the acclaim of Saint John
Chrysostom. He was either starved to death or, more probably, killed by the sword, and was buried nearby at Drepanum (later renamed Helenopolis by Constantine in honor of his mother).
Later on it was said that he had been drowned in the sea and that his body had been brought to land by a dolphin. How this piece of pagan folklore came to be attached to Saint Lucian is unknown

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