lundi 4 mars 2013

Saint LUCIUS Ier, pape et martyr

Saint Lucius Ier, pape et martyr

Mort en 254, fête en 1602.

Bhx Cardinal Schuster, Liber Sacramentorum

La fête annuelle de cet illustre Pontife (+ 254) célébré par saint Cyprien pour sa douceur et son esprit de concorde, est notée dans le Catalogue Philocalien des Depositiones Episcoporum de 336. Aujourd’hui encore, dans la crypte papale de la nécropole romaine de Calixte, l’on voit son épigraphe sépulcrale primitive.

Cependant, après l’abandon des cimetières vers le VIIIe siècle, sa commémoration disparut complètement des Sacramentaires et des calendriers romains, et ce fut seulement sous Clément VIII qu’elle fut rétablie dans le Bréviaire. Saint Lucius ne mourut pas, à vrai dire, de mort violente, aussi anciennement son nom ne se trouvait pas dans les Natalitia Martyrum, mais seulement dans les Depositiones Episcoporum. En effet, il fut exilé de Rome presque aussitôt son ordination ; il revint ensuite à son Siège, mais mourut peu de semaines après. Saint Cyprien. qui loue grandement saint Lucius, mentionne une ou plusieurs de ses lettres sur la manière de traiter les lapsi [1]. On vénère son corps dans la basilique transtévérine de Sainte-Cécile.

La messe (avant 1942) est celle du Commun des Martyrs Pontifes, Sacerdótes Dei, puisque l’usage liturgique de ces derniers siècles est de considérer comme une peine équivalente au martyre les tribulations de l’exil et les afflictions que, en temps de terrible persécution, durent supporter ces antiques héros de la foi, même si le glaive du bourreau ne trancha pas leur tête. Le voisinage des tombes de sainte Cécile et du pape Lucius est digne de remarque. Ce Pontife fut d’abord enseveli dans la crypte papale de la voie Appienne, tout à côté par conséquent de l’hypogée des Cœcilii chrétiens, où, jusqu’au temps de Paschal Ier, avait reposé l’illustre vierge Cécile. Quand celle-ci fut transférée dans le Titre élevé sur l’emplacement de son habitation, on y porta aussi les corps des papes Urbain et Lucius, qui attendent dans son voisinage la résurrection finale. La Secrète et la Postcommunion sont empruntées à la messe Statuit.

[1] Ep., LXVIII, 5.

Dom Pius Parsch, le Guide dans l’année liturgique

Saint Lucius. — Le martyrologe : « A Rome, sur la voie Appienne, la naissance au ciel de saint Lucius, pape et martyr ; tout d’abord, durant la persécution de Valérien, il fut envoyé en exil pour la foi du Christ ; ensuite, par un effet de la volonté divine, il put revenir dans son Église ; après avoir vaillamment lutté contre les Novatiens, il fut décapité. (Des recherches récentes ont démontré qu’il mourut de mort naturelle). Saint Cyprien lui a décerné de magnifiques louanges » (à cause de sa douceur et de son esprit de conciliation). Il régna de 253 à 254. Son antique épitaphe est encore conservée. Ses reliques sont honorées dans l’église de Sainte-Cécile au-delà du Tibre.


Pope St. Lucius I

Reigned 253-254; died at Rome, 5 March, 254. After the death of St. Cornelius, who died in exile in the summer of 253, Lucius was chosen to fill his place, and consecrated Bishop of Rome. Nothing is known of the early life of this pope before his elevation. According to the "Liber Pontificalis", he was Roman born, and his father's name was Porphyrius. Where the author obtained this information is not known. The persecution of the Church under the Emperor Gallus, during which Cornelius had been banished, still went on. Lucius also was sent into exile soon after his consecration, but in a short time, presumably when Valerian was made emperor, he was allowed to return to his flock. The Felician Catalogue, whose information is found in the "Liber Pontificalis", informs us of the banishment and the miraculous return of Lucius: "Hic exul fuit et postea nutu Dei incolumis ad ecclesiam reversus est." St. Cyprian, who wrote a (lost) letter of congratulation to Lucius on his elevation to the Roman Seeand on his banishment, sent a second letter of congratulation to him and his companions in exile, as well as to the whole Roman Church (ep. lxi, ed. Hartel, II, 695 sqq.).

The letter begins:

Beloved Brother, only a short time ago we offered you our congratulations, when in exalting you to govern His Church God graciously bestowed upon you the twofold glory of confessor and bishop. Again we congratulate you, your companions, and the whole congregation, in that, owing to the kind and mighty protection of our Lord, He has led you back with praise and glory to His own, so that the flock can again receive its shepherd, the ship her pilot, and the people a director to govern them and to show openly that it was God's disposition that He permitted your banishment, not that the bishop who had been expelled should be deprived of his Church, but rather that he might return to his Church with greater authority.

Cyprian continues, alluding to the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, that the return from exile did not lessen the glory of the confession, and that the persecution, which was directed only against the confessors of the true Church, proved which was the Church of Christ. In conclusion he describes the joy of Christian Rome on the return of its shepherd. When Cyprian asserts that the Lord by means of persecution sought "to bring theheretics to shame and to silence them," and thus to prove where the Church was, who was her one bishopchosen by God's dispensation, who were her presbyters bound up with the bishop in the glory of the priesthood, who were the real people of Christ, united to His flock by a peculiar love, who were those who were oppressed by their enemies, and at the same time who those were whom the Devil protects as his own, he obviously means the Novatians. The schism of Novatian, through which he was brought forward as antipope, in opposition toCornelius, still continued in Rome under Lucius.

In the matter of confession and the restoration of the "Lapsi" (fallen) Lucius adhered to the principles ofCornelius and Cyprian. According to the testimony of the latter, contained in a letter to Pope Stephen (ep. lxviii, 5, ed. Hartel, II, 748), Lucius, like Cornelius, had expressed his opinions in writing: "Illi enim pleni spiritu Domini et in glorioso martyrio constituti dandam esse lapsis pacem censuerunt et poenitentia acta fructum communicationis et pacis negandum non esse litteris suis signaverunt." (For they, filled with the spirit of the Lordand confirmed in glorious martyrdom, judged that pardon ought to be given to the Lapsi, and signified in their letters that, when these had done penance, they were not to be denied the enjoyment of communion and reconciliation.) Lucius died in the beginning of March, 254. In the "Depositio episcoporum" the "Chronograph of 354" gives the date of his death as 5 March, the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum" as 4 March. The first date is probably right. Perhaps Lucius died on 4 March and was buried 5 March. According to the "Liber Pontificalis" thispope was beheaded in the time of Valerian, but this testimony cannot be admitted. It is true that Cyprian in the letter to Stephen above mentioned (ep. lxviii, 5) gives him, as well as Cornelius, the honorary title of martyr: "servandus est enim antecessorum nostrorum beatorum martyrum Cornelii et Lucii honor gloriosus" (for theglorious memory of our predecessors the blessed martyrs Cornelius and Lucius is to be preserved); but probably this was on account of Lucius's short banishment. Cornelius, who died in exile, was honoured as a martyr by theRomans after his death; but not Lucius. In the Roman calendar of feasts of the "Chronograph of 354" he is mentioned in the "Depositio episcoporum", and not under the head of "Depositio martyrum". His memory was, nevertheless, particularly honoured, as is clear from the appearance of his name in the "Martyrologium Hieronymianum". Eusebius, it is true, maintains (Church History VII.10) that Valerian was favourable to theChristians in the early part of his reign. The emperor's first persecution edict appeared only in 257.

Lucius was buried in a compartment of the papal vault in the catacombs of St. Callistus. On the excavation of the vault, de Rossi found a large fragment of the original epitaph, which only gives the pope's name in Greek: LOUKIS. The slab is broken off just behind the word, so that in all probability there was nothing else on it except the title EPISKOPOS (bishop). The relics of the saint were transferred by Pope Paul I (757-767) to the church ofSan Silvestro in Capite, or by Pope Paschal I (817-824) to the Basilica of St. Praxedes [Marucchi, "Basiliques et eglisesde Rome", Rome, 1902, 399 (inscription in San Silvestro), 325 (inscription in S. Praxedes)]. The author of the "Liber Pontificalis" has unauthorizedly ascribed to St. Lucius a decretal, according to which two priests and three deacons must always accompany the bishop to bear witness to his virtuous life: "Hic praecepit, ut duo presbyteri et tres diaconi in omni loco episcopum non desererent propter testimonium ecclesiasticum." Such a measure might have been necessary under certain conditions at a later period; but in Lucius's time it was incredible. This alleged decree induced a later forger to invent another apocryphal decretal, and attribute it to Lucius. The story in the "Liber Pontificalis" that Lucius, as he was being led to death, gave the archdeaconStephen power over the Church, is also a fabrication. The feast of St. Lucius is held on 4 March.

Sources

Liber Pontificalis, ed. DUCHESNE, I, XCVII, 153; ALLARD, Histoire des persecutions, III (Paris, 1887), 27 sq.; DE ROSSI, Roma sotterranea, II (Rome, 1867), 62-70; JAFFE, Regesta Rom. Pont., 2nd ed., I, 19-20; WILPERT, Die Papstgraber und die Caciliengruft (Freiburg im Br., 1909), 19.