Saint NameLoukianos/Lucian of Antioch, theologian and martyr of Nicomedia and Helenopolis : S00151
Saint Name in SourceΛουκιανός
Type of EvidenceInscriptions - Funerary inscriptions
Evidence not before350
Evidence not after650
Activity not before350
Activity not after650
Place of Evidence - RegionAsia Minor
Place of Evidence - City, village, etcAquae Aravenae
Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)Aquae Aravenae
Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and CustomsSaint as patron - of an individual
Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and NarrativesOther lay individuals/ people
Ecclesiastics – unspecified
SourceFragment of a slab, broken at top and bottom. Preserved dimensions: H. 0.46-0.67 m; W. 1.12 m (inscribed field: 0.89 m); Th. 0.06m. Letter height c. 0.037 m. The text was framed and probably written below a carving of a cross. Some words are followed by a small oblique stroke. Found by Semavi Eyice in 1970, in the ruins of a church, called Üçayak, c. 35-40 km from the village of Kırşehir (ancient Aquae Avernae, Cappadocia, eastern Asia Minor). Edited by Eyice together with Jacques Noret.
DiscussionThe inscription is apparently the epitaph for a certain Loukianos. It is composed in verse. Eyice and Noret, aided by Enrica Follieri, noted that the poem resembled troparia with rhymes, composed between the mid-5th and 8th c., but were unable to find a heirmos, upon which it was modelled. Reinhold Merkelbach and Josef Stauber identify the metre as early Byzantine rhythmical cola.
The deceased, hosios Loukianos, is described as a disciple (spiritual rather than actual) of Saint Loukianos, perhaps a local martyr or, more plausibly, Saint *Loukianos/Lucian (S00151) of Antioch, a prominent Christian writer, author of a translation or recension of the Old Testament, founder of a theological school, presbyter and finally martyr under Maximinus Daia (AD 312, in Nikomedia). For an early account of his life, see: Eus. HE VIII 13,2 (E00318); IX 6,3, and our record in his martyrdom accounts (E06124).
The Loukianos of the epitaph is described as a person who followed the example of Saint Loukianos, after whom he may well have been named. The phrasing used to praise Saint Loukianos, is peculiar, especially the expression ὁ σὲ θρεψάμενος which we find in verse 6 and which can be translated as 'your caretaker' or 'the one who nourished you'. Apparently a metaphorical meaning is implied: the deceased could have been a passionate reader of the writings of the saint or have been inspired by his life (more probably, as in the text the emphasis is put on pure life and sufferings and not on erudition), but certainly we are observing some kind of personal bond between a follower and his patron saint, close to the idea of the saint as a friend, argued by Peter Brown. This is interesting, as in late antique Anatolian inscriptions saints are usually shown as lords and masters, and not as caring 'parents' or companions. In the final verses the deceased is described as a person who shared the sufferings of Saint Loukianos. The most probable explanation is that he was an ascetic, rather than an actual martyr, as in this period martyrdoms were rare in Anatolia, and there is no indication that the deceased was a member of an heretical group, persecuted by the state.
Nonetheless, Noret suggests another explanation. Together with the text of our inscription, he edited several passages from a previously unpublished, presumably 4th or 5th c., Life of Saint Lucian (BHG 996z, cf. E06124), stating that the saint left Antioch and travelled through southern Asia Minor (Cilicia and Pamphylia), to convert pagans, Jews and heretics to orthodox Christianity. In this Life, this Lucian/Loukianos is also said to have instructed a group of children (aged 7-12) from Cappadocia and to have died in Nicomedia already in 303, under Diocletian. Noret considers this testimony a tradition supported by our inscription. He implausibly hypothesises that the disciple of Loukianos, for whom the inscription was composed, could have been one of his real students.
Steinepigramme aus dem griechischen Osten, no. 13/08/02.
Eyice, S., Noret, J., "S. Lucien, disciple de S. Lucien d'Antioche. A propos d'une inscription de Kırşehir (Turquie)", Analecta Bollandiana 91 (1973), 364-377.
Destephen, S., "Martyrs locaux et cultes civiques en Asie Mineure", in: J.C. Caillet, S. Destephen, B. Dumézil, H. Inglebert, Des dieux civiques aux saints patrons (IVe-VIIe siècle) (Paris: éditions A. & J. Picard, 2015), 100.
Bulletin épigraphique (1974), 592.