October 26 – Their black magic could not withstand the sign of the cross
Lucian and Marcian living in the darkness of idolatry applied themselves to the vain study of the black art; but were converted to the faith by finding their charms lose their power upon a Christian virgin, and the evil spirits defeated by the sign of the cross. Their eyes being thus opened they burned their magical books in the middle of the city of Nicomedia and, when they had effaced their crimes by baptism, they distributed their possessions among the poor, and retired together into a close solitude, that by exercising themselves in mortification and prayer, they might subdue their passions, and strengthen in their souls that grace which they had just received, and which could not safely be exposed to dangers, and occasions of temptations in the world till it was fenced by rooted habits of all virtues, and religious exercises. After a considerable time spent in silence they made frequent excursions abroad to preach Christ to the Gentiles, and gain souls to the kingdom of his love. The edicts of Decius against the Christians being published in Bithynia, in 250, they were apprehended and brought before the proconsul Sabinus, who asked Lucian by what authority he presumed to preach Jesus Christ? “Every man,” said the martyr, “does well to endeavour to draw his brother out of a dangerous error.” Marcian likewise highly extolled the power of Christ. The judge commanded them to be hung on the rack and cruelly tortured. The martyrs reproached him, that whilst they worshipped idols they had committed many crimes, and had made open profession of practising art magic without incurring any chastisement; but, when they were become Christians and good citizens they were barbarously punished. The proconsul threatened them with more grievous torments. “We are ready to suffer,” said Marcian, “but we will never renounce the true God, lest we be cast into a fire which will never be quenched.” At this word Sabinus condemned them to be burned alive. They went joyfully to the place of execution, and, singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to God, expired amidst the flames. They suffered at Nicomedia in 250, and are honoured in the Martyrologies on the 26th of October. See their genuine acts in Surius, Ruinart, p. 151; Tillemont, t. 3, p. 383, and in the original Chaldaic, probably of Eusebius, in Stephen Assemani’s Acta Martyrum Occid. t. 2, p. 49.
(The Lives of the Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October, p. 292)