+ According to ancient tradition, Luke was born in Syria and was a physician.
+ A companion of Saint Paul the Apostle, he was in Rome with Paul at the time of his martyrdom. It is said that after Paul’s death, Luke traveled to Greece where he wrote his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.
+ In his writings, Saint Luke presents a Christian community of equals where all things are held in common and shows us a Jesus who is a friend of sinners and outcasts (cf. Acts 2:42-44).
+ Saint Luke is believed to have died of natural causes around the year 84.
+ Honored as the patron of doctors and pharmacists, he is also celebrated as a patron of artists because of an ancient tradition that he painted the first icon of the Madonna and Child.
Although there are various icons that are attributed to Saint Luke, the most well known is, arguably, the famed “Black Madonna” of Czesthochowa, Poland. Although art historians hypothesize that the image dates from sometime between the sixth and ninth centuries, traditions related to the icon relate that Saint Luke painted the image on a cedar table top from the house of the Holy Family.
“Saint Luke kept a certain historical order and revealed to us more miracles of the Lord, yet so that the history of his Gospel embraced the virtue of all wisdom. For what more excellent truth did he reveal concerning natural wisdom than that the Holy Spirit also gave rise to the divine Incarnation?”—Saint Ambrose of Milan
The Saint in art
Saint Luke is most often represented in sacred art holding an image of the Madonna and Child or, more often, with an ox.
Lord God, who chose Saint Luke
to reveal by his preaching and writings
the mystery of your love for the poor,
grant that those who already glory in your name
may persevere as one heart and one soul
and that all nations may merit to see your salvation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.