Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(LUCIFER CALARITANUS)

A bishop, who must have been born in the early years of the fourth century; died in 371. His birthplace and the circumstances of his youth are unknown. He first appears in ecclesiastical history, in full maturity of strength and abilities, in 354 when he was deputed by Pope Liberius, with the priest Pancratius and the deacon Hilary, to request the Emperor Constantius to convene a council, to deal with the accusations directed against St. Athanasius and his previous condemnation. This council was convened at Milan. Lucifer there defended the Bishop of Alexandria with much passion and in very violent language, thus furnishing the adversaries of the great Alexandrian with a pretext for resentment and further violence, and causing a new condemnation of Athanasius. Constantius, unaccustomed to independence on the part of the bishops, grievously maltreated Lucifer and his colleague, Eusebius of Vercelli. Both were exiled, Lucifer being sent to Germanica, in Syria, and thence to Eleutheropolis in Palestine; he was finally relegated to the Thebaid.

In the course of this exile Lucifer wrote an extremely virulent pamphlet entitled "Ad Constantium Augustum pro sancto Athanasio libri II", an eloquent defence of Catholic orthodoxy, but in such exaggerated language that it overshot the mark and injured the cause it was meant to serve. Lucifer boasted of his work, and Constantius, tyrant that he was, refrained from further revenge. After the death of Constantius, Julian allowed all the exiles to return to their cities. Lucifer went to Antioch, and at once meddled in the dissensions which divided the Catholic party. He prolonged and embittered them by consecrating a bishop who appeared to him capable of continuing the opposition to the bishop and party which he judged the weaker under the circumstances. Incapable of tact, he aggravated the dissenters, instead of dealing cautiously with them in order to win them, and displayed special severity towards those Catholics who had wavered in their adherence to the Nicene Creed. About this time a Council of Alexandria presided over by St. Athanasius decreed that Arians renouncing their heresy should be pardoned and that bishops who, by compulsion, had temporized with heretics should not be disturbed. Against this indulgence Lucifer protested, and went so far as to anathematize his former friend, Eusebius of Vercelli, who carried out the decrees of the Council of Alexandria. Seeing that his extreme opinions won partisans neither West nor East, he withdrew to Sardinia, resumed his see, and formed a small sect called the Luciferians. These sectaries pretended that all priests who had participated in Arianism should be deprived of their dignity, and that bishops who recognized the rights of even repentant heretics should be excommunicated. The Luciferians, being earnestly opposed, commissioned two priests, Marcellinus and Faustinus, to present a petition, the wellknown "Libellus precum", to the Emperor Theodosius, explaining their grievances and claiming protection. The emperor forbade further pursuit of them, and their schism seems not to have lasted beyond this first generation.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter