A low cost, lanthanide-substituted, dimensionally and thermally stable, gas permeable, electrically conductive, porous ceramic air electrode composition of lanthanide-substituted doped lanthanum manganite is provided which is used as the cathode in high temperature, solid oxide electrolyte fuel cells and generators. The air electrode composition of this invention has a much lower fabrication cost as a result of using a lower cost lanthanide mixture, either a natural mixture or an unfinished lanthanide concentrate obtained from a natural mixture subjected to incomplete purification, as the raw material in place of part or all of the higher cost individual lanthanum. The mixed lanthanide primarily contains a mixture of at least La, Ce, Pr, and Nd, or at least La, Ce, Pr, Nd and Sm in its lanthanide content, but can also include minor amounts of other lanthanides and trace impurities. The use of lanthanides in place of some or all of the lanthanum also increases the dimensional stability of the air electrode. This low cost air electrode can be fabricated as a cathode for use in high temperature, solid oxide fuel cells and generators.