Lucius of Britain

Infobox Saint
name= Saint Lucius of Britain
birth_date=
death_date=2nd century
feast_day= 3 December
venerated_in= Roman Catholic Church


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birth_place=
death_place=
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beatified_date=
beatified_place=
beatified_by=
canonized_date=
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patronage=diocese of Chur; diocese of Vaduz
major_shrine= cathedral of Chur
suppressed_date=
issues=

Saint Lucius was a legendary figure and mythical king of the Britons in the 2nd century AD. In Geoffrey of Monmouth's "History of the Kings of Britain", he was the son of King Coilus and ruled in the manner of his father. Leaving no heir, his death led to a struggle between the people of Britain and the power of Rome.

Not appearing in any source dating back to classical antiquity, he is most prominently mentioned in the Liber Pontificalis, Bede's "Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum" and Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Historia Regum Britanniae", none of which can claim high historical trustworthiness for the 2nd century. Later traditions are mostly based on one of these three accounts, probably including a medieval inscription at the church of St Peter upon Cornhill in Cornhill, London in the City of London. There he is credited with having founded the St Peter's in 179 AD. [http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/celticorigins.html]

In spite of differences in the dating of the event, all of these sources tell of King Lucius becoming the first native Christian in Britain after he invited Pope Eleuterus in a letter to send missionaries to Britain in order to Christianize the people. However, both "Lucius Britannius rex" and his letter to the pope are now generally considered as unhistorical.

The pope sent out Fuganus and Duvianus as missionaries and they converted St. Lucius, after which they began to establish a Christian order throughout Britain with great success. Throughout his reign, the missionaries converted old temples to churches and cathedrals. Also dioceses were established among the people. York became the centre for Albany and Deira, London became the centre for Loegria and Cornwall, and Caerleon was the centre for Cambria. The missionaries returned to Rome, then subsequently returned to Britain with more aides in order to establish a full order on the isle. Lucius assisted by giving lands to the church and helping convert the people.

St. Lucius's feast day is on 3 December and he was canonized through the pre-congregational method.

Veneration in Chur

The legendary first bishop of Chur and patron saint of the Grisons (Switzerland) was also named St. Lucius, with whom the British Lucius is not to be confused. It is possible, however, that the mentioning of St. Lucius of Britain in the Liber Pontificalis soon led to a scholarly identification of the otherwise somewhat shapeless patron saint with his more prominent British namesake. His supposed relics are still kept in the cathedral of Chur, although there is little doubt among scholars that the bishopric was only established some 150 years after its alleged founder was martyrised.

External links

* [http://www.ensignmessage.com/archives/celticorigins.html The Origins of Celtic Christianity]
* [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0015-587X(1979)90%3A1%3C29%3ALOBAKA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1 Alan Smith, 'Lucius of Britain: Alleged King and Church Founder', Folklore, Vol. 90, No. 1 (1979), pp. 29-36]
* [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0038-7134(194904)24%3A2%3C218%3ALCTIB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-F Homer Nearing, Jr., Local Caesar Traditions in Britain, "Speculum", Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., 1949), pp. 218-227]


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