Icon of Apostle and Evangelist Luke on the Iconostasis of the Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Luke in Hong Kong.
Luke was born in Antioch. In his youth, he excelled in his studies of Greek philosophy, medicine and art. During the ministry of the Lord Jesus on earth, Luke came to Jerusalem, where he saw the Savior face to face, heard His saving teaching and was witness to His miraculous works. Coming to belief in the Lord, St. Luke was numbered among the Seventy Apostles, and was sent out to preach. With Cleopas, he saw the resurrected Lord on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Luke returned to Antioch and there became a fellow worker of the Apostle Paul and traveled to Rome with him, converting Jews and pagans to the Christian Faith. Luke, the beloved physician, … greets you, writes the Apostle Paul to the Colossians. (Colossians 4:14). At the request of Christians, he wrote his Gospel in about the year 60. Following the martyrdom of the great Apostle Paul, St. Luke preached the Gospel throughout Italy, Dalmatia, Greece and other regions. He painted icons of the Most-holy Theotokos-not just one, but three-and icons of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Hence, St. Luke is considered to be the founder of Christian iconography.
In old age, he visited Libya and Upper Egypt. From Egypt he returned to Greece, where he continued to preach and convert many with great zeal despite his old age. In addition to his Gospel, St. Luke wrote the Acts and dedicated both works to Theophilus, the governor of Achaia. Luke was eighty-four years old when the wicked idolaters tortured him for the sake of Christ and hanged him from an olive tree in the town of Thebes, in Boethia. The miracle-working relics of this wonderful saint were transported to Constantinople in the reign of Emperor Constantius, the son of Saint Constantine the Great.
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
The Prologue from Ohrid
The Life of the Evangelist Luke
by Saint Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (634-638)
Luke, a physician of Antioch, was not unacquainted with Greek culture, as is shown by his writings. He was a companion of the Apostle Paul and followed him in all his journeys to foreign lands. Luke wrote the Gospel to which Paul himself refers when he says, And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches (II Cor. 8:18). And in his letter to the Colossians he says, Luke, the beloved physician, greets you(Col. 4:14). And to Timothy he says, Only Luke is with me (II Tim. 4:11).
Luke wrote another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, a history which ends with Paul’s two-year stay in Rome, that is, in the fourth year of Nero’s reign. This leads us to believe that The Acts of the Apostles was written in Rome. The tale of the journey of Paul and Thecla, and every other fable, such as the baptism of the lion, should not be counted among the canonical Scriptures. For it is not possible that he who was inseparable from the Apostle should not have known of this act among all his other acts. Tertullian also mentions a certain elder in Asia at that time, a companion of the Apostle Paul, who, when it was proven in the presence of John that he was the author of this book, confessed that he had written it out of love for Paul. Some say that this is why Luke does not mention himself as the author. Whenever Paul says in his own Epistles, according to my Gospel (Rom. 2:16, etc.), it is clear that he means the Gospel written by Luke. But Luke learned the Gospel not only from the Apostle Paul, who was not with the Lord in the body at that time, but from the other Apostles as well. He himself clearly states this at the beginning of his work, saying, even as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses. Therefore he wrote the Gospel as he had heard it. But he wrote The Acts based on what he himself had experienced. Luke’s relics were taken up and carried to Constantinople, together with the relics of the Apostle Andrew, in the twentieth year of the reign of Constantius.
The Tomb of Apostle Luke, Thebes, Greece
The miraculous icon of the Theotokos from the Monastery of Kykkos on Cyprus. It is one of the icons attributed to Saint Luke, and many miracles occur through the grace of the Panagia. It is interesting to note that according to the will of Emperor Alexios, the faces of Christ and the Theotokos are ever covered with a cloth out of great reverence.