Saturday, April 17, 2010

St. Loukianos (Lucian) the Hieromartyr of Antioch, and his miraculous church in Crete

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

St. Loukianos (Lucian) the Hieromartyr of Antioch - Commemorated on October 15 (

"The Hieromartyr Lucian, Presbyter of Antioch, was born in the Syrian city of Samosata. At twelve years of age he was left orphaned. Lucian distributed his possessions to the poor, and went to the city of Edessa to the confessor Macarius, under the guidance of whom he diligently read Holy Scripture and learned the ascetic life. For his pious and zealous spreading of Christianity among the Jews and pagans, Lucian was made a presbyter.

In Antioch St Lucian opened a school where many students gathered. He taught them how to understand the Holy Scriptures, and how to live a virtuous life. St Lucian occupied himself with teaching, and he corrected the Greek text of the Septuagint, which had been corrupted in many places by copyists and by heretics who deliberately distorted it in order to support their false teachings. The entire Greek text of the Bible which he corrected was hidden in a wall at the time of his confession of Christ, and it was found during the lifetime of St Constantine the Great.

During the persecution of Diocletian, St Lucian was arrested and was sent to prison in Nicomedia, where for nine years he encouraged other Christians with him to remain steadfast in their confession of Christ, urging them not to fear tortures or death.

["The persecution was horrible and not even young children were spared. Two boys who did not want to eat food sacrificed to idols were thrown into a boiling bath, where in torments they gave up their holy souls to God. A disciple of Lucian named Pelagia (October 8) preserved her virginal purity from dissolute attackers by praying to God on her roof-top: she gave up her soul to Him, and her body fell from the roof...

St. John Chrysostom writes of St. Lucian: ``He scorned hunger: let us also scorn luxury and destroy the power of the stomach that we may, when the time that requires such courage comes for us, be prepared in advance by the help of a lesser ascesis, to show ourselves glorious at the time of battle. ("]

The Martyrdom of St. Loukianos (Icon courtesy of used with permission)
St Lucian died in prison from many terrible tortures and from hunger. Before his death, he wished to partake of the Holy Mysteries of Christ on the Feast of Theophany. Certain Christians who visited him brought bread and wine for the Eucharist. The hieromartyr, bound by chains and lying on a bed of sharp potsherds, was compelled to offer the Bloodless Sacrifice upon his chest, and all the Christians there in prison received Communion.(***See below for more details) The next day the emperor sent people to see if the saint was still alive. St Lucian said three times, "I am a Christian," then surrendered his soul to God. The body of the holy martyr was thrown into the sea, but after thirty days dolphins brought it to shore. Believers reverently buried the body of the much-suffering St Lucian.

St Lucian was originally commemorated on January 7, the day of his death. Later, when the celebration of the Synaxis of St John the Baptist was appointed for this day, the feast of St Lucian was transferred to October 15. The October date may be associated with the dedication of a church which was built in Antioch by St Helen (May 21) over St Lucian's holy relics.

Although he was only a priest, sometimes St Lucian is depicted in the vestments of a bishop. The Stroganov Guide for Iconographers was published in Russia in 1869, based on a 1606 manuscript. There St Lucian is depicted wearing a phelonion and holding a Gospel. He does not wear the omophorion of a bishop, however. Another handbook, the Litsevoy Podlinnik, states that St Lucian is to be depicted with the omophorion.

It may be that the Russians thought of St Lucian as a bishop because of his importance to the Church, and so that is how they depicted him. Similarly, St Charalampus (February 10) is depicted as a priest in Greek icons, and as a bishop in Russian icons."

***St. Loukianos and the Holy Mysteries (by St. Nikolai Velimirovic)
"The saints of God place great importance on receiving Holy Communion before their death. Even though they were sacrificing their lives for Christ the Lord and washing away all their sins by the blood of martyrdom, the martyrs longingly received the Holy Mysteries whenever it was possible. St. Lucian was in prison with several of his disciples and other Christians. On the eve of Theophany, Lucian longed, on such a great Christian feast, to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, for he knew that his death was imminent. Seeing the sincere desire of His sufferer, God Almighty arranged that some Christians pass bread and wine into the prison. When the Feast of Theophany dawned, Lucian called all the Christian prisoners to stand in a circle around him and said to them: ``Surround me and be the Church.'' He had no table, chair, stone or wood in the prison upon which to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. ``Holy Father, where shall we place the bread and wine?'' they asked Lucian. He lay down in their midst and said: ``Place them on my chest, let it be a living altar for the Living God!'' And thus the Liturgy was celebrated correctly and prayerfully on the chest of the martyr, and all received Holy Communion. The next day, the emperor sent soldiers to bring Lucian out for torture. When the soldiers opened the door of the prison, St. Lucian cried out three times: ``I am a Christian! I am a Christian! I am a Christian!'' and with that, he gave up his soul to his God."

For more on St. Loukianos, see:

The miracles and historical church of St. Loukianos on Crete (amateur translation)
“For a long period of time St. Loukianos was appearing in a vision before me and asked me to build a church dedicated to his name and his grace.” Thus astonishing confession was made to “Espresso” by Fr. Demetrios Marakes (80 years old currently), who in the beginning of the 1990's made the great decision to begin procedures for the creation of the one and only church of our area which is dedicated to St. Loukianos.

The miraculous church is in Loukia, in a small village on the south shore of Crete and roughly 47 kilometers from the city of Heraklion. “At the time when I decided to build a new church together with the faithful of the village, I wanted the name that we would give to fit in with the village somehow. Thus, reading the synaxaristes, I found that which I was searching for so much: St. Loukianos – Loukia. Of course, this was before St. Loukianos had begun to appear to me in my sleep and to come in a vision. Thus without a second thought we made this decision.”

As Papa-Demetris relates to us, the faithful in the beginning might not have known the life and the great work of St. Loukianos, but because the church with such a rare name was going to be the only in the village, they immediately supported his decision. The Saint of course had worked many miracles for the inhabitants and because of this on his feast day, October 15th, faithful from all parts of Crete would visit. Many did not know of him, Papa-Demetris and his work, but he tried to make St. Loukianos known all over Crete.

“In Jerusalem today there is a ruined church of St. Loukianos, but here we have made a new church. We are very proud of this and of course the Saint helped us very much in the completion of these works. We never remained without money. Whenever I sought some help there was always someone to give it. I call this a miracle, as the Saint has worked very many miracles for the faithful.

A blind man again receives his sight, and a worker is saved having fallen from the dome...

From 1994 when we had the Thyranoixia of the church until today, St. Loukianos has offered his blessing to many parishoners, as Papa-Demetris reveals to us. “A faithful person who is of course known to many here in the village, a blind man from the village of Zaros, came here and venerated and shortly received his sight. And outside the church there was a terrible accident and the driver was not hurt at all. There are a lot of thinks that I have to remember and also more from the people who don't keep it a secret.”

Many other stories happened during the period when the church was still being built. “The contractor had asked me to get the soil after we had done the digging. I gave it to him to my great joy. As soon as the workers loaded the soil in the cart and the contractor was ready to leave, then very horrible happened, the car which until then worked normally died and wouldn't go forward. As soon as we unloaded the material, then it began to work again.

Later I learned that we don't remove even the dirt from the church. Thus the Saint wanted nothing to leave from that place. A worker fell from the dome when he was plastering it. The height was very great, but the Saint is good, the man didn't suffer anything.”

Architecturally the church is Cross-shaped with a dome and internally it isn't missing anything from any of the other churches of large cities. Internally it holds at least 500 people, while from the day it was built many couples chose to have their weddings there.
(amateur translation of the Greek text from:
Troparion - Tone 3
Radiant with the Spirit, you taught true knowledge of the true faith; a trainer of martyrs, O Lucian, you were glorified in contest. Intercede with Christ our God that he may grant us great mercy!

Another Troparion - Tone 4
Your holy martyr Lucian, O Lord, through his suffering has received an incorruptible crown from You, our God. For having Your strength, he laid low low his adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through his intercessions, save our souls!

Kontakion - Tone 2
We honor you with hymns of glory, Lucian, the radiant star. You first became radiant by your detachment from the things of this world; then you were raised up by your struggle. Unceasingly pray for us all.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
Truly the Lord is risen!

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