Lucifer of Cagliari was the Bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia. He was chosen to represent Pope Liberius at the Council of Milan (355) which was convened to answer the question of Athanasius. As a fierce adversary to Arianism he was one of few who didn’t bend to the will of Emperor Constantius II. Exiled by the emperor for his defense of Athanasius Lucifer traveled through various sees of the East. During his exile he worked on his five treatises, which use many, extensive quotations of Scripture and are therefore important witnesses to the pre-Jerome Latin text of the Bible.

With permission from Emperor Julian in 362 he was allowed to return from exile, along with all others who had been exiled by Constantius II. Lucifer decided to not take part in the Council of Alexandria, which Athanasius convoked in order to solve issues that had arisen during Arian control of that see. He instead chose to go to Antioch and became entangled in a controversy between the priest Paulinus and the legitimate bishop Melitius, who was a man of modest homoiousian tendencies. Lucifer consecrated Paulinus, a Nicean of strict observance, resulting in the aggravation of the local schism. He was rebuked by Athanasius and Eusebius of Vercelli for his activities. Irritated by this and the mild actions taken by the Council of Alexandria against those who had compromised with Arianism, Lucifer left Antioch and returned to Sardinia.

There were some in the West who adopted his rigorist and closed minded views and refused to associate with those who had been suspected of Arian leanings. These “Luciferians” would later be attacked by Jerome in the Dialogue Against the Luciferians and disappeared early in the fifth century.

Below we list his 5 extant works and letters, along with CPL numbers and pages according to:

G.F. Diercks, ed., Luciferi Calaritani Opera quae Super sunt, CChr.SL vol. 8 (Turnholt 1978).

date title CPL number Diercks pp.
On the Venerable Athanasius Quia absentem nemo debet iudicare nec damnare siue De sancto Athanasio 114
Book I 3-76
Book II 77-132
On Apostate Kings De regibus apostaticis 113 133-161
There Must Be No Agreement with Heretics De non conveniendo cum haereticis 112 165-192
No Pardon for Those Who Sin against God De non parcendo in deum delinquentibus 115 193-262
We Must Die for the Son of God Moriundum esse pro dei filio 116 263-300
7 Letters: Epistulae Luciferi et aliorum 117 301-322
355 Letter of Lucifer, Pancratius, and Hilary to Eusebius of
2 Letters of Pope Liberius to Lucifer
Letter of Florentius, Magister Officiorum, to Lucifer
3 Letters of Athanasius to Lucifer


McHugh, Michael P. “Lucifer of Cagliari.” In Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Edited by Everett Ferguson. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1990, p. 555.

Moreschini, Claudio, and Enrico Norelli. Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature:A Literary History. Translated by Matthew J. O’Connel. Vol. 2. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005.

Simonetti, M. “Lucifer(Luciferians).” In Encyclopedia of the Early Church. Edited by Angelo Di Berardino. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992, p. 508.

Created by AJW, revised by JJW

Updated on 12-12-12

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