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Lucius (11)

Lucius (11), the third Arian intruded into the see of Alexandria, an Alexandrian by birth, ordained presbyter by George. After the murder of that prelate Lucius seems to have been regarded as head of the Arians of Alexandria; but Socrates's statement (iii. 4), that he was at that time ordained bishop, is corrected by Sozomen (vi. 5) and earlier authorities. At the accession of Jovian, according to the Chronicon Acephalum, a Maffeian fragment, four leading Arian bishops put him forward to address the new emperor at Antioch, hoping to divert Jovian's favour from Athanasius. Records of these interviews are annexed to Athanasius's epistle to Jovian, and appear to have been read by Sozomen, who summarizes the complaints urged against the great hero of orthodoxy. The records are vivid and graphic. Lucius, Bernicianus, and other Arians presented themselves to Jovian at one of the city gates when he was riding into the country. He asked their business. They said they were "Christians from Alexandria," and wanted a bishop. He answered, "I have ordered your former bishop, Athanasius, to be put in possession." They rejoined that Athanasius had for years been under accusation and sentence of banishment. A soldier interrupted them by telling the emperor that they were the "refuse" of "that unhallowed George." Jovian spurred his horse and rode away. Lucius does not reappear until 367, when, having been consecrated, says Tillemont (vi. 582), "either at Antioch, or at some other place out of Egypt," he attempted to possess himself of the bishopric, and entered Alexandria by night on Sept. 23, and "remained in a small house," next the precinct of the cathedral. In the morning he went to the house where his mother still lived; his presence excited general indignation, and the people beset the house. The prefect Latianus and the dux Trajanus sent officers to expel him, who reported that to do so publicly would imperil his life, whereupon Tatianus and Trajanus, with a large force, went to the house, and brought him out at 1 p.m. on Sept. 24. On Sept. 25 he was conducted out of Egypt (Chron. Praevium and Acephalum). Athanasius died on May 2, 373, being succeeded by Peter; but the prefect Palladius attacked the church, and Peter was either imprisoned or went into hiding. Euzoius, the old Arian bp. of Antioch, easily obtained from Valens an order to install Lucius. Accordingly Lucius appeared in Alexandria, escorted, as Peter said in his encyclical letter (Theod. iv. 25), not by monks and clergy and laity, but by Euzoius, and the imperial treasurer Magnus, at the head of a large body of soldiers; while the pagan populace intimated their friendly feeling towards the Arian bishop by hailing him as one who did not worship the Son of God and who must have been sent to Alexandria by the favour of Serapis. Lucius surrounded himself with pagan guards, and caused some of the orthodox to be beaten, others to be imprisoned, exiled, or pillaged, for refusing his communion, these severities being actually carried out by Magnus and Palladius as representing the secular power. Gregory of Nazianzus calls him a second Arius, and lays to his charge the sacrileges and barbarities of the new Arian persecution (Orat. xxv. 12, 13). He took an active part in the attack on the monks of Egypt; finding them immovably attached to the Nicene faith, he advised that their chief "abbats," the two Macarii, should be banished to a little pagan island; but when the holy men converted its inhabitants, the Alexandrian people made a vehement demonstration against Lucius, and he sent the exiles back to their cells (Neale, Hist. Alex. i. 203). When the Arian supremacy came to an end at the death of Valens, in 378, Lucius was finally ejected, and repaired to Constantinople, but the Arians of Alexandria still regarded him as their bishop (Socr. v. 3). He lived for a time at Constantinople, and contributed to the Arian force which gave such trouble to Gregory of Nazianzus, during his residence in the capital as bishop of the few Catholics, from the beginning of 379. In Nov. 380 the Arian bp. Demophilus was expelled, and Lucius went with him. Theodoret (iv. 21) confounds Lucius with another Arian prelate of that name, also a persecutor, who usurped the see of Samosata (Tillem. vi. 593).

[W.B.]

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